Pubdate: Thu, 13 Dec 2007
Source: Times, The (Tigard, OR)
Copyright: 2007 Pamplin Media Group
Author: Greg Francisco


Methamphetamine addiction is a serious problem. Fewer home-based labs 
churning out meth and toxic waste is good news. Mexican-produced 
methamphetamine now flooding the market is discouraging but not a 
reason to wave the white flag. You got all of that exactly right in 
your Nov. 29 editorial ("Continue, expand fight against meth"). And 
in the same editorial you reveal exactly why Washington County law 
enforcement agencies report "as much methamphetamine, possibly even 
more, is available now."

"A focused and collaborative approach by citizens, legislators and 
law enforcement officers can make an appreciable difference in the 
war against meth." So says your editorial. Ummm, aren't you 
forgetting something? Like the most important piece of the puzzle?

Drug addiction is a medical problem. There is no political cure for 
it -- salvation will not come from Salem. Nor is there a criminal 
justice solution to drug addiction. Locking people inside metal cages 
does not cure addiction. Sooner or later that addict is going to get 
out of jail and go right back to the old environment and behaviors.

Rates of tobacco addiction -- the drug that kills many times more 
Americans every year than all other drugs combined -- have been 
slashed by half over the past three decades. We didn't achieve that 
success by shutting down home-based tobacco-grow operations or by 
mass arrests of tobacco-users. Instead we wisely used a public-health 
and education approach. It worked, and it continues to work as fewer 
and fewer teens become addicted to tobacco.

Oregon can continue to build prisons until your treasury bleeds red. 
Or you can stop getting tough on drugs and start getting smart 
instead. The choice is yours.

Greg Francisco

Speaker, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Paw Paw, MI
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