Pubdate: Wed, 03 May 2006
Source: Chronicle-Tribune (Marion, IN)
Copyright: 2006 Chronicle-Tribune
Author: Robert Sharpe


I respectfully disagree with the Chronicle-Tribune's April 25 
editorial on the Higher Education Act's denial of student loans to 
youth convicted of drug offenses.

Instead of empowering at-risk students with a college degree, HEA 
limits career op-portunities 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, 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. Drug abuse is bad, but the 
drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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