Pubdate: Thu, 22 May 2008
Source: Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Tallahassee Democrat
Author: Suzanne Scott


Re: "Father pushes for 'Rachel Law' " (new article, May 20).

Irv Hoffman, father of slain FSU graduate Rachel Hoffman, is urging
lawmakers to consider legislation to prevent future
prohibition-related tragedies. State Sens. Mike Fasano and Al Lawson,
as well as Gov. Charlie Crist, expressed interest in helping to ensure
that other promising young people do not find themselves in
circumstances similar to those Rachel faced.

As an initial step, lawmakers need to prohibit the use of informants
in dangerous situations. While untrained citizens should never be used
to do risky undercover police work, it is even less justifiable when
pursuing the drug war.

This becomes glaringly obvious when considering that, while drug
arrests and drug seizures are at all-time highs, we are no closer to a
drug-free America than we were 30 years ago. Consistently, about 85
percent of high-school seniors report that marijuana is easily
obtained; this figure remains unchanged by the 800,000 marijuana
arrests and millions of pounds of marijuana seized each year. The
price of cocaine and heroin has been declining for the past 25 years,
while purity has been increasing - all signs that, according to the
Office of National Drug Control Policy, the black market is healthier
than ever.

Rachel's death should compel us to seek more than accountability from
the Tallahassee Police Department and common-sense reforms to the
informant system. It demands that Floridians take an objective look at
the futility of the punitive, supply-reduction policies we pursue with
nothing to show for it but more violence.

Suzanne Scott, Florida State University

Students for Sensible Drug Policy
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