Pubdate: Tue, 24 May 2005
Source: Arizona Republic (AZ)
Copyright: 2005 The Arizona Republic
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Youth)


In response to Laurie Roberts' column "Here's the perfect dog to roam the 
halls" (May 12):

The Scottsdale School Board isn't doing students any favors by sending in 
the drug dogs. These days, zero tolerance poses a greater threat than 
drugs. According to the Monitoring the Future survey 
(, more than half of all high school seniors 
have tried an illicit drug. Denying a majority of the nation's youths an 
education isn't in America's best interest. Most students outgrow their 
youthful indiscretions involving drugs. On the other hand, an arrest and 
criminal record can be life shattering.

After admitting to smoking marijuana (but not inhaling), former President 
Bill Clinton opened himself up to "soft on drugs" criticism, yet 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 Bush also is 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 with 
the long-term effects of criminal records.

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

- - Robert Sharpe

Arlington, Va.

Robert Sharpe is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy. 
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