Sunday, July 10, 2011

Drug addiction is a health issue

by our readers Anniston Star

Jul 10, 2011

Re “Drug task force to begin operations in Clay County” (News article, June 30):

I read this article with dismay. Will law enforcement and the public never learn that our approach to drug use has failed and will continue to fail so long as we insist on treating drug use as a criminal act instead of a health issue?

The “drug war” started more than 40 years ago under Richard Nixon, and in that 40 years more than $1 trillion has been wasted. And for what? Has drug use dropped or ceased altogether? No. Has arresting and incarcerating adults for minor drug offenses stopped others from using drugs? No. Has the drug war made acquiring drugs difficult? No. Has the drug war stopped drugs from coming into or being produced in this country? No. Has the drug war increased the price or decreased the purity of drugs available? No. Has it kept drugs out of the hands of children? Certainly not.

It has created the horrific prison overcrowding we see in Alabama. In our prison system, which was built to hold about 12,000 people, we are running at 195 percent capacity with nearly 30,000 inmates. The state Legislature refused to address this issue in this last session, so now the federal government is coming in to take it over. It has created a police state where everyone is a potential suspect. It has created no-knock, SWAT team raids on the suspicion that someone might have a couple joints in their home. These raids place everyone involved, police, suspects, kids and family pets in extreme danger.

People who are addicted to a substance need no additional help in further complicating their lives. Addiction is a private family matter and should be treated as such. Imagine if we had alcohol task forces who went around kicking in doors, throwing grenades, and imprisoning everyone who liked to occasionally drink a beer?

Enough already.

Loretta Nall
Alexander City

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