Pubdate: Fri, 11 Feb 2005
Source: Gainesville Sun, The (FL)
Copyright: 2005 The Gainesville Sun
Author: Robert Sharpe

Nation's War on Drugs Only Harms the Abusers

This is in response to The Sun's editorial (Feb. 6) titled "Avenue of

Florida is not the only state grappling with overcrowded prisons.
Throughout the nation, states facing budget shortfalls are pursuing
alternatives to incarceration for non-violent drug offenders.

A study conducted by the RAND Corp. found that every additional dollar
invested in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.48 in
societal costs.

There is far more at stake than tax dollars. The drug war is not the
promoter of family values that some would have us believe.

Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness,
addiction and delinquency. Not only do the children lose out, but
society as a whole does too.

Incarcerating non-violent drug offenders alongside hardened criminals
is the equivalent of providing them with a taxpayer-funded education
in anti-social behavior.

Turning drug users into unemployable ex-cons is a senseless waste of
tax dollars. It's time to declare peace in the failed drug war and
begin treating all substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the public
health problem it is. Destroying the futures and families of citizens
who make unhealthy choices doesn't benefit anyone.

Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe,
policy analyst,
Common Sense for Drug Policy,,
Washington, D.C. 
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