Pubdate: Sun, 30 Oct 2005
Source: Morning News, The (Springdale, AR)
Copyright: 2005 The Stephens Media Group
Author: Tom Angell


Asa Hutchinson, former DEA director and current candidate for 
Arkansas governor, is on the right track when he says the law that 
takes away financial aid from college students with drug convictions 
should be scaled back ("Don't withhold student loans for past drug 
offenses, former DEA Director says" -- Oct. 22).

But while the partial reform he proposes would help some students 
with past convictions, it would leave behind tens of thousands of 
others who get convicted while in college. Blocking access to 
education to people who have been in trouble with drugs is a bad 
idea, regardless of when convictions occur. Pulling students out of 
school won't do anything to keep them away from drugs; instead, it 
causes more drug abuse.

Preventing determined individuals from earning a college degree only 
increases the chances that they'll rely on public assistance programs 
or become costly drains on the criminal justice system later on.

This backwards policy should be repealed entirely and aid should be 
reinstated to all individuals who want to work to become productive 
taxpaying citizens.

Tom Angell

Campaigns Director

Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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