Pubdate: Tue, 03 Oct 2006
Source: Daily Reflector (Greenville, NC)
Copyright: 2006 Daily Reflector
Author: Stephen Heath
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)


Letter writer Robert Sharpe's astute comments about the drug court 
system are laudable (Public Forum, Sept. 15).

However, I'd like to add that problems with adequate funding for your 
drug courts are assured, given the experience we've had here in 
Florida, where the drug court system was first introduced.

The system's fatal flaw is the failure to make any distinction 
between the use and the abuse of any drug, most notably marijuana. 
Thus the well-intentioned drug court model is now jammed with 
thousands of marijuana clients, whose need for drug treatment is no 
more than an alcohol user's who drinks a six-pack on the weekend or 
enjoys wine with his meals.

Treating the majority of marijuana use, and in many cases occasional 
use of other illegal substances, as something in need of a 
state-funded "cure" is a disaster in the making.

Taxpayers are forced to watch millions of dollars go into "curing" 
someone who smokes small amounts of pot at home.

Then, as the number of clients rises, drug warriors use that data to 
perpetuate the myth of marijuana addiction.

It's a never-ending rodent wheel, and we, the taxpayers, are getting the shaft.

Most important, far too many real drug abusers are left waiting for 
needed help behind otherwise law-abiding citizens whose only crime 
was possessing small amounts of drugs and being caught by authorities.

Stephen Heath

Public Relations Director

Drug Policy Forum of Florida

Clearwater, Fla.
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