Pubdate: Sat, 22 Mar 2014
Source: Oklahoman, The (OK)
Copyright: 2014 The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Author: Richard Janopaul


"CPAC showed conservatives embracing justice reform" (Our Views, 
March 14) says more and more conservatives understand that 
corrections reform must happen. It quotes Rick Perry, Texas governor, 
where reforms resulted in closing a prison. As Perry put it, "We're 
not a soft-on-crime state. I hope we get the reputation of being a 
smart-on-crime state." The editorial closed by saying, "Perhaps 
Oklahoma will one day do the same."

All states have criminal laws controlling narcotics and dangerous 
drugs, producing large numbers of persons in prisons for drug 
offenses. Yet availability and use of these drugs continues to grow. 
Add prescription drugs coming through the same channels and we have 
the paradox that the War on Drugs has produced effects opposite to 
its stated purpose. Control now lies with international drug 
syndicates whose supply lines lead directly to Oklahoma.

People use drugs to deal with personal pain or discomfort - from 
feeling down, to chronic physical pains. They don't go to doctors 
because prescriptions for pain drugs must be reported to authorities. 
Better to get the same drug locally and keep it private. And who 
wants to go to a counselor? It's easier to use alcohol or drugs to 
ease emotional pains.

Repeated drug use often leads to addiction. Should drug addiction be 
handled by the criminal justice system? Or are conservatives now 
beginning to see that addictions as personal problems and preferring 
that arrests, criminal charges, and prison sentences be reserved for 
crimes against persons or property?

Richard Janopaul, Oklahoma City
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