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Friday, October 5, 2007

War Hawks

The war on drugs is failing America.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom advocated Thursday for ending the war on drugs. It costs too much financially and socially.
While it is debatable whether or not crime rates would decline 70%, Newsom demonstrates a keen understanding of the big picture ramifications that the injustice of this war entail.

SF County sheriff Mike Hennessey told local reporters that 60-75% of inmates are incarcerated for drug offenses or have underlying substance abuse problems. The repercussions for someone convicted for drug-related violations perpetuate the spiral into stigma, unemployment, crime, and poverty. In essence, the war on drugs makes the war on poverty nearly impossible to win.

But this argument is not about legalization of harmful substances; it's about finding a better way to handle the problem. It's no secret that drug-use, drug-related crimes, and poverty are no strangers to each other. Prevention is certainly a worth-while venture. Drug rehabilitation programs address the problem head-on: substance abuse treatment. Is the sending of these offenders into isolation from society with violent offenders and sociopaths the best way to re-acquaint addicts with normative, law-abiding, socially acceptable behavior? My guess, and the re-incarceration rate and rise in drug-related violence, lean towards "no."

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