Pubdate: Mon, 02 Oct 2006
Source: Technician, The (NC State U, NC Edu)
Copyright: 2006 The Technician
Author: Matt Potter


The leadership of N.C. State University Students for Sensible Drug
Policy would like to clear up a few issues regarding the complaints of
the Native American Student Association (NASA). While we understand
that the complaints of NASA have merit, we feel that the manner in
which they approached the situation was unprofessional and unfair to
us. We truly were interested in a dialogue with NASA and any others
who had complaints, so that they could explain their problems with
what we were doing; we simply were not given the opportunity. We are
sorry that NASA does not sympathize with our mission, as we do not
advocate drug use but rather seek to inform people of the very harmful
effects the drug war has on our country, especially minority citizens.
In the U.S., an estimated 9.9 million drug users are white (72 percent
of users) while only 2 million (15 percent) are black and yet African
Americans constitute over 42 percent of those in federal prison on
drug charges. Once convicted of a felony, white defendants received
prison sentences 33 percent of the time compared to African American
defendants who received prison sentences 51 percent of the time. The
United States has the highest prison population rate in the entire
world. Approximately 686 out of every 100,000 people are incarcerated
in the U.S. Drug offenses constitute the largest group of federal
inmates at 55 percent, at a cost of nearly 3 billion dollars according
to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Add to that number the
approximately 12 billion dollars spent enforcing and prosecuting drug
offenders each year, and the amount of tax dollars we spend on the
drug war is astronomical! So we meant no harm when we decided to use a
teepee on the Brickyard. We were trying to spend as much money as we
could helping Habitat for Humanity, and at the same time be able to
raise awareness that after spending in excess of a trillion dollars
over the course of the past four decades, drug use has not decreased
in the past 15 years yet we keep spending and spending. It seems to us
that we are fighting a losing war, costing the taxpayers billions of
dollars each year, and ruining tens of thousands of lives, and we
don't feel as if that message is out of line in any way. ?

Matt Potter

Junior, Political Science
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