Pubdate: May 7, 1998
Source: The Daily Record (Morris County, NJ)
Author: Stanton Peele


My ten-year-old daughter recently returned home with a forbidding looking
document from the Morris County Prosecutor, John Dangler.  It reported that
"40-55 percent of all of the high school seniors throughout Morris County
are regularly using alcohol and/or drugs" and that, "in 1997, 21 Morris
County residents died as a result of fatal overdoses of drugs," a number of
them teenagers.

In response to this cascading dug and alcohol use, the Prosecutor reviewed
New Jersey laws that penalize adults for serving alcohol to children in
their homes; requiring parents to report to police any drugs they find in
their homes or cars; forfeiture of property by parents if they knew their
children were using drugs on their property; etc.

However, all of these laws were in place prior to the 1997 data on drug
overdoses and high school senior drug and alcohol use.  Moreover, we have
been hearing for some time about the great success of D.A.R.E., the drug
prevention program administered by the police in our schools. If the laws
and programs are so effective, then why are the results so bad? Without
questioning this, the Prosecutor and others will push for still sterner
laws, more arrests, and more scare programs about the dangers of drugs.

It would seem that we have gone as far as we can with zero-tolerance,
arrest and confiscate, scare tactics with drugs. Yet we are addicted to
such approaches.  The more drug use by teens, the more we resort to the
unsuccessful policies that led to such drug use.

Stanton Peele 
Morris Township 
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Checked-by: Richard Lake