Pubdate: Fri, 25 Mar 2005
Source: Good 5 Cent Cigar (U of  RI: Edu)
Copyright: 2005 Good 5 Cent Cigar
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)
Bookmark: (Students for Sensible Drug Policy)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Thank you for raising awareness of the Higher Education Act's denial of 
student loans to youth convicted of drug offenses. Anyone born into a 
wealthy family need not fear the impact of HEA.

Instead of empowering at-risk students with a college degree, HEA limits 
career opportunities and increases the likelihood those affected will 
resort to crime. Speaking of crime, convicted rapists and murders are still 
eligible for federal student loans.

Most students outgrow their youthful indiscretions involving illicit drugs. 
An arrest and criminal record, on the other hand, can be life-shattering.

After admitting to smoking pot (but not inhaling), former President Bill 
Clinton opened himself up to "soft on drugs" criticism. And thousands of 
Americans have paid the price in the form of shattered lives. More 
Americans went to prison or jail during the Clinton administration than 
during any past administration.

As an admitted former drinker and alleged illicit drug user, President 
George W. Bush is also politically vulnerable when it comes to drugs. While 
youthful indiscretions didn't stop Clinton or Bush from assuming leadership 
positions, an arrest surely would have.

The short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to 
the long-term effects of criminal records. Students who want to help reform 
harmful drug laws should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy at

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy
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