Saturday, September 08, 2007

Remove Pot Smokers from Drug Court Equation

The Mobile Press-Register published the following LTE from me today about drug courts. This one is an unedited version of the one ran by The Tuscaloosa News a few days ago.

Letters, faxes, and e-mail
Saturday, September 08, 2007

I want to thank Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb publicly for her efforts to ease prison overcrowding and address drug addiction with a more compassionate approach. It is so important for society to realize that addiction is an illness that can be treated and not a crime that needs punishing.

Regardless of how people get addicted, they are still someone's mother, father, daughter, son, husband, wife or friend. Not one of them longed to be an alcoholic or drug addict when he or she was a kid.

Many of you know me as a voice for drug policy and prison reform in Alabama and as a candidate for governor in the 2006 election. I am also a family member who has witnessed the devastating impact that drugs and alcohol can have on human lives.

I have two brothers, one in prison and one who just overdosed for the ninth time on methadone provided to him by the VA. I love them both very much, despite their addictions. I know for a fact that locking such folks in prison does not work. It simply drives them insane, and when they are released it's like they are coming out of a war zone.

While I am happy to see drug courts expand in Alabama, I fear that they will simply round up pot-smokers to fill their treatment beds. Those beds should be kept available for people suffering from addiction to hard drugs like alcohol, methamphetamine, crack/powder cocaine and opiates, both pharmaceutical and street versions.

However, pot-smokers are much more numerous than all other drug users combined, and chances are some of these courts will get the majority of their funds from responsible adult marijuana consumers.

So much for the theory of safety in numbers. If that is allowed to happen, then we will find ourselves in the same predicament that we have with the prisons: too many people who don't need to be there taking up all the room for those who do need to be there.

When used responsibly by adults, marijuana should be exempt from all criminal sanctions, police involvement and court oversight. We all know it is safer than alcohol and not addictive to the degree that anyone actually suffers withdrawal if he or she quits.

Unless people who smoke pot are doing something to endanger others, there is no reason for the police or the courts to be involved.

Taking responsible adult pot-smokers out of the drug court equation will greatly enable the drug courts to better help the people who really need help.


Alexander City

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

of course lock up the addicts and leave the dealers out so they can make more addicts. it would also be interesting to see what the other % of people are locked up for? like they care about a poll or study as long as they ignore it they will keep the money and lock up innocent people besides that common sense would tell anyone that locking these people up was easy and less life threatening than stopping real crimes. this is a giant game of bull they protect and serve alright" protect there pockets and serve the innocent with outrageous charges". and everyone knows that marijuana doesn't kill make people violent etc. people with problems do those things regardless of the drug will u lock the drug up already? tax it and lock up real crime already I believe our world today has had enough of this mess and we deserve better answers besides more drug laws why not take away coffee alcohol aren't this chemicles substances? will these make me a bad person also? will we one day be locked up for every things we do that harms our body one day? to much sugar caused me to act in a hyper way so does that mean I was under the influence of a controlled substance? basically what iam trying to say is that everyone has some sort of addiction so do we all need counseling? drug treatment more test for sugar over doses? children taken for coffee use? we can all point the fingers but who really pays for all this confusion? there is all kinds of addictions and they all have intoxicating effects mentally physically emotionally on our well being weather its positive or negative effects isn't this on that persons decision to do right or wrong in there lives?"like alcohol per se"? its legal but can be used illegally in a lot circumstances and it impairs vision drastically balance,mental, state compared to marijuana truth is alcohol was created by alchemist long ago and kings asked them how does alcohol effect people? and it was said that it has a controlling effect on people!the king who wanted control much like religion etc. well that king made alcohol that night for the whole city if no one fights or steals from each other or sells drugs anymore who will they lock up then? only the real criminals? would be left? take the drugs from the addict give them there 20 bucks back and watch them go back to there dealer then get the dealer?wouldn't this be a fine method and that would be the true war on drugs? locking up addicts or people in poverty only ammounts to one thing youll never fight true crime and another truth then amounts from what ive said why get the dealer he keeps our addicts coming? oh they pose a we are waiting on evidence to bust them or wait he just made 5 more dealers why we waited right more money if we have more addicts and more dealers and a slash dealer addict should only be noted as a dealer with social use then. instead we have a domino effect and if we have more addicts than dealers were would those addicts get drugs from? thank you for letting me share my opinion I hope it matters.