Pubdate: Sat, 27 Jun 2009
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2009 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Jim Brown

Recently I served on a jury in a criminal court trial where the
defendant was found guilty of possession and sale of a controlled
substance. I would estimate that the State of North Carolina has
already spent thousands of dollars on this case. Now the state will
probably spend tens of thousands of dollars to incarcerate the
individual. All of this for $20 worth of cocaine.

If this conviction reduced or even deterred the future sale and use of
drugs, I would gladly say it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately,
it will not. We have been prosecuting these types of crime for years
and the problem has only gotten worse.

Our government has spent billions of dollars on the "war on drugs"
since the Reagan administration. Yet almost any high school student or
inner city resident can buy just about any drug he or she wants
anywhere in the country. Add to this the fact that many violent crimes
are drug-related, as are infectious diseases such as HIV and
hepatitis. Clearly our current policy regarding illegal drugs is not
only not working, it is consuming vast amounts of money and resources
that could be used elsewhere.

I believe it was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as doing the
same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Jim Brown
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