Pubdate: Mon, 8 Feb 1999
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 1999, The Tribune Co.
Author: Most  Rev. Charles Leigh of Tampa
[The writer is Bishop of the American Catholic Church, Diocese of Florida.]


I read about the Tampa City Council again promising to address the
prostitution and street-level drug dealing in Seminole Heights (Florida
Metro, Feb. 5). The council members once again made the politically safe
promise to increase punishment for people they consider insignificant -
prostitutes and drug users.

Prostitution and drug dealing have been rampant in Seminole Heights for more
than 30 years.

There will be no change until adequate in-patient drug treatment is
available in Tampa. Even people court ordered into treatment must wait many
weeks or even months to get space in a treatment facility.

Hillsborough County judges understood this need for treatment when they
established the very successful Drug Court. Unfortunately, the fine judges
in Drug Court cannot provide funding for treatment.

That must be done by our elected officials at every level of government.
Seminole Heights may be cleaned up when our city council members care more
about helping all the people of Tampa and a bit less about retaining their
power at all costs!

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