Pubdate: Tue, 17 Feb 2009
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Jack Fertig


Regarding "Out of space, out of excuses, out of time" (Feb. 11), which
urges California to take "long-overdue steps to reduce its prison
population" - one such step has been staring us in the face for years:
decriminalizing drugs. As a recovering addict, I know the damage drugs
can do. I also know that there's not a law in the world that can keep
a junkie from his jones.

Decriminalization may lead to more addiction in the short run, but it
will take drug trade away from the gangs, causing the price of a fix
to plummet along with the rates of murders, shootings and theft. With
the many billions of dollars wasted from this useless debacle of a
"war on drugs" we are no better off than we were when it began in the
Nixon administration. Abandoning this folly would save lives and
money. Education and drug treatment are cheaper, more effective methods.

Nor do I think the rise in addiction would last. Losing its outlaw
cachet, drug use would cease to be "cool" and would quickly be seen as
what it is, a sinkhole for pathetic losers. The lessons we learned
from the prohibition of alcohol should be applied across the board.

Jack Fertig

San Francisco
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