Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

January 29, 2005 - The Sun-Sentinel (FL)

Students Could Face Up To 15 Years In Jail

Drug Bust Nets 16 Arrests So Far

By Shahien Nasiripour, Bill Lucey

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Some of the teens caught in a high school drug sting could face up to 15 years in prison for selling small amounts of narcotics, officials said Friday.

Prosecutors plan to charge the teens as adults, Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office spokesman Mike Edmondson said. Sixteen people, 15 of them high school students, have been arrested. Police are searching for five more teens.

The State Attorney's Office regularly charges juvenile drug dealers as adults. It's been Barry Krischer's policy since he assumed office 12 years ago, Edmonson said.

"It's a crime that doesn't deserve juvenile prosecution," Edmondson said of the bust, which was announced Thursday.

But drug policy analysts disagree, noting that charging children as adults is the worst thing that could happen to a nonviolent drug offender.

"The emphasis with nonviolent youth should always be on education and rehabilitation," said Glenn Backes of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance. It's a national organization that works to replace drug policies with public health initiatives.

"These kids were putting others at risk by selling drugs and they should be dealt with appropriately," he said. "But to try these kids as adults and burden them with a felony, you foreclose on their entire futures."

Most of the teens were caught selling marijuana. Dealing marijuana, regardless of the amount, within 1,000 feet of a school is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

Some of the high school students arrested were caught selling $10 worth of marijuana.

Selling cocaine or MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, is a second-degree felony and carries a maximum 15-year imprisonment.

The five high schools where the teens were caught were chosen for population size and location, officials said. Other high schools may be targeted as the investigation continues.

"We have a drug problem in our schools," School Board member Debra Robinson said. "Hopefully we'll address it more than by just arresting our kids."

There are no mandatory drug education programs in high school, Schools Police Chief Jim Kelly said.

Robinson wants schools to partner with community agencies to ensure drug treatment is available for children, noting that the demand for drugs should be the primary concern.

No one can argue about taking drugs out of schools, Backes said, but common-sense approaches to punishment and rehabilitation should be the aim of authorities.

"These kids are being charged with selling drugs to law enforcement officers who offered them money and friendship," Backes said. "It doesn't make sense to respond to petty drug sales with such draconian measures.

For the latest drug war news, visit our friends and allies below

We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.

The Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Reform Coordination Network
Drug Sense and The Media Awareness Project

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact