Pubdate: Thu, 2 Jul 2009
Source: Gainesville Sun, The (FL)
Copyright: 2009 The Gainesville Sun
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your June 26th editorial, Florida is not the only state
grappling with overcrowded prisons. Throughout the nation, states
facing budget shortfalls are pursuing alternatives to incarceration
for nonviolent drug offenders.

A study conducted by the RAND Corporation found that every additional
dollar invested in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.48 in
societal costs. There is far more at stake than tax dollars.

The drug war is not the promoter of family values that some would have
us believe. Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure,
joblessness, addiction and delinquency. Not only do the children lose
out, but society as a whole does too.

Incarcerating non-violent drug offenders alongside hardened criminals
is the equivalent of providing them with a taxpayer-funded education
in anti-social behavior.

Turning drug users into unemployable ex-cons is a senseless waste of
tax dollars. It's time to declare peace in the failed drug war and
begin treating all substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the public
health problem it is.

Destroying the futures and families of citizens who make unhealthy
choices doesn't benefit anyone. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is

Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, VA