Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jan 2013
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2013 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Lindsay Trigoboff


The war on drugs is costing us more than we're getting back. On 
average, it costs $30,000 a year to incarcerate an inmate. However, 
the nation spends an average of $11,665 per public school student. Is 
incarceration an appropriate punishment for all drug offenses?

Over 50 percent of people in jail were put there for drug law 
violation, most of which are for possession (85 percent to 90 
percent).The war on drugs is often compared with Prohibition, and 
it's easy to see why. Prohibition brought an increase in consumption 
of hard liquor and saw more organized crime taking over legal 
production and distribution. Banning alcohol didn't stop people from 
drinking; it just stopped people from obeying the law.

Likewise, the war on drugs doesn't seem to be affecting drug use; the 
U.S. leads the world in illegal drug use.

It makes more sense to help addicts break their habits rather than 
put users in prison, possibly for the second or third time. This is a 
serious problem in our country. We need alternatives to incarceration 
that focus on education and health.

Lindsay Trigoboff

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom