Pubdate: Tue, 19 Sep 2006
Source: Brown Daily Herald, The (Brown, RI Edu)
Copyright: 2006 The Brown Daily Herald
Author: Robert Sharpe


Thank you for raising awareness of the Higher Education Act's denial
of student loans to youth convicted of drug offenses ("SSDP mobilizes
against Higher Education Act," Sept. 13). Instead of empowering
at-risk students with a college degree, HEA limits career
opportunities and increases the likelihood that 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 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
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.

Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake