Residents Say Country Losing War on Drugs

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Mar 22, 2001.

  1. By Thomas Doyle, Globe-News Business Writer
    Source: Amarillo Globe-News

    Many Amarillo residents feel the war on drugs isn't working, or isn't working like it should. "I think there should be more of a rehabilitative focus when dealing with defendants rather than a punitive focus," said David Isern, a criminal defense lawyer.
    But not everyone agreed with him. "I think they should be much harder on drug offenders," said Tiffany Coffman. "Especially with repeat offenders."

    Mary-Jeanne Kreek, professor and head of the Laboratory on the Biology of Addictive Diseases at Rockefeller University in New York, agreed that more treatment is a necessity.

    "We know we can take hardened criminals who are long-term heroin addicts, and get them into effective treatments, and they become taxpayers. And that's terrific," Kreek said.

    Kreek was the guest speaker at the 2001 Marsh Lectureship on Wednesday at the Texas Tech Medical Center.

    Damein Miller said the war on drugs has worked to a degree.

    "People, in my opinion, are a lot more aware of the consequences," he said. This makes them less likely to sell or buy drugs, he said.

    Marijuana, however, should be legalized, he said, and tax dollars are being wasted to punish users of marijuana.

    "If they heavily taxed (marijuana), I think everyone would win in that situation," Miller said.

    Rosendo Amador agreed.

    "It's just wasting taxpayer money on a victimless crime," he said.

    By legalizing marijuana, he said, many people would be kept out of jail. Harder drugs, however, should remain illegal.

    Other residents such as C.E. Roof said the way to deal with drugs like marijuana is to treat it like alcohol. The government should set up state control boards and tax it heavily.

    Kreek, however, said legalizing drugs would just make them more available to those who are genetically predisposed to become addicted.

    Many agreed with Kreek and Isern that therapy is the solution.

    "I believe the war on drugs isn't working," said Donald Mincey. He said more therapy programs are needed instead of incarceration.

    By putting some users in jail, children are deprived of parents and families are deprived of providers, he said.

    Others think the war on drugs is focused in the wrong place.

    "I think the war on drugs is focused on minority people," said Sheldon Crain. Drug raids usually happen in lower-class neighborhoods, when drugs are being made and sold in wealthier parts of cities, he said.

    The war on drugs should also be focused more on the producers, he said. Action should be taken against the drug fields in Colombia along with other producers, Crain said.

    Crain said some people who sell drugs are just desperate to make ends meet. While it's wrong, desperate times can lead people to take desperate measures, he said.

    "You can take the richest man, put him on the street, and he'll do what he can to survive," he said.

    Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
    Author: Thomas Doyle, Globe-News Business Writer
    Published: Thursday, March 22, 2001
    Fax: (806) 373-0810
    Copyright: 2001 Amarillo Globe-News
    Address: P.O. Box 2091, Amarillo, TX 79166

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