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News (Media Awareness Project) - US PA: OPED: Legalizing Drugs Is Not The Answer
Title:US PA: OPED: Legalizing Drugs Is Not The Answer
Published On:2011-11-28
Source:Pottstown Mercury (PA)
Fetched On:2011-11-29 06:02:07
OFFICIAL: LEGALIZING DRUGS IS NOT THE ANSWER

In his Nov. 12 opinion piece, "Is the war on drugs worth it? At what
cost?," Earl W. Davis characterizes the Obama administration's drug
control policy as a "war" and likens it to America's experience with
Prohibition in the early 20th century. On both points, he expresses
an outdated view that does not reflect the comprehensive approach to
prevention, treatment, recovery, and criminal justice reform being
applied to the nation's drug problem today.

The federal government is currently spending more on drug education
and treatment ($10.4 billion) than on law enforcement ($9.2 billion)
and when it comes to law enforcement, the administration is
implementing a range of innovative public safety interventions that
save tax dollars, treat addiction, and reduce criminal recidivism. In
the past three years, drug treatment courts have sent approximately
120,000 offenders annually into drug treatment instead of prison.
Through enhanced probation programs like Project HOPE in Hawaii,
probationers are experiencing dramatic reductions in drug use as a
result of drug testing and swift, certain, but reasonable sanctions.
And through its support for the Second Chance Act, the administration
has underscored the importance of substance abuse treatment,
employment, mentoring, and other services that improve the transition
of individuals from the criminal justice system to a new life in the community.

Legalizing drugs is not a part of this new approach. By making drugs
more available and more accessible, legalization would do nothing to
reduce drug use and its adverse consequences. We know from our
experience with legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco that any
potential tax revenue would come nowhere close to offsetting the
costs to society. And there is no evidence that legalizing drugs
would cause criminal organizations to abandon their illicit activities.

In these tough economic times, it is essential that we focus our
resources on what works. By implementing innovative yet proven
criminal justice interventions, we can save taxpayer dollars, improve
outcomes, and break the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration
in our communities.

DANIEL VAN CUZZOLINO

Policy Analyst

Office of National Drug Control Policy
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