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I Got Published!

October 23, 2006 - Arizona Republic (AZ)

Fill The Jails, Fail The Victims

Voters: Beware of unintended consequences and vote "no" on Proposition 301. If this proposition passes, it would deny hundreds of people the opportunity for drug treatment and would clog our prisons with more non-violent addicts.

A study was done recently in Nebraska for the Department of Correctional Services (reported in The Republic). It showed that the get-tough meth law that took effect there last year, combined with normal expected growth in the prison population, will require many additional prison beds and will cost millions.

Where will the funding come from for the Arizona Department of Corrections if this proposition passes?

Treatment for all addicts is far more cost-effective than incarceration, and certainly more humane. The 1996 voter-approved Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act, which provides probation and treatment for low-level drug offenders, must continue to be honored. And it has saved millions of tax dollars.

Let's give low-level, non-violent meth users the chance to participate in a successful, proven drug treatment program. Don't discriminate. Meth addiction is treatable. Judges already have the authority to sentence all violent offenders to prison. It is overzealous prosecutors who want to further their conviction rate for political purposes that have convinced legislators to re-write the original voter-approved initiative.

In 1996, Arizona voters got it right the first time!

Roma Thomas, Sun City West

December 3, 2006 - St. Petersburg Times (FL)

A Futile Fight

Since Milton Friedman's death last month, I have searched major U.S. online newspapers for opinion pieces about his stand against the drug war and found nothing, except a column by Robyn Blumner.

How can the mainstream media write reams about the successes of his many policy recommendations but ignore this one? Do they believe the drug war is a success, that his stand against the drug war was his one mistake?

No. I think they know the drug war is bad policy, but it has been going on so long that it supports the careers, stock portfolios and campaign contributions of many well-placed people. Simply put, the drug war is too controversial for most columnists, editorial writers and publishers.

John Chase, Palm Harbor

December 10, 2006 - St. Petersburg Times (FL)

Prohibition's Problems

Re: Remember Alcohol, Dec. 3, Letter

Life with legalized drugs is bad, but life with prohibition is even worse.

The writer could have made his case even stronger by reminding us that national prohibition of alcohol was accompanied by reduced death rates from alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver (See Dr. Clark Warburton's 1932 book The Economic Results of Prohibition).

So what were Americans thinking when they ended national Prohibition? Consider this, from the 1930 resolution of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform:

"... National Prohibition, wrong in principle, has been equally disastrous in consequences in the hypocrisy, the corruption, the tragic loss of life and the appalling increase of crime which have attended the abortive attempt to enforce it; in the shocking effect it has had upon the youth of the nation; in the impairment of constitutional guarantees of individual rights; in the weakening of the sense of solidarity between the citizen and the government, which is the only sure basis of a country's strength."

Those women knew life was better and safer with legal alcohol than life with illegal alcohol because they'd lived it both ways. They learned that driving a popular drug underground causes more societal damage than it prevents.

Priscilla M. Chase, Palm Harbor

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