Education, Not Incarceration



As I picked up my Payson Roundup Tuesday (Oct. 9 issue) and looked at the front page photo showing a narcotics dog surrounded by confiscated marijuana, I had one overwhelming emotion sadness.

Sadness for the fact that our town, and many communities across our country, spend precious funds fighting the war on drugs, even though research has shown that it is, in itself, an abject failure.

It has long been established that kids who stay involved in sports or other activities will more often than not keep away from drugs. Yet we continue to fund cottage industries of police narcotic squads and drug-sniffing animals when we should be taking these resources and building community centers to keep people active and involved in the community.

There are people who will use drugs no matter what, legal or illegal. The reasons why are as varied as life itself. Some use drugs to mask a deep psychological pain. Others use as a recreational high, seeking a change in their conscious thought. And many use drugs, as in marijuana, for medicinal purpose. None of these people should be chastised or labeled as criminals.

This war on drugs has created many problems in its own right. For instance, the price of any illegal drug is artificially increased simply by making it illegal. And by making drugs illegal, thus increasing the price, we create a powerful black market for dealers worldwide.

Take Afghanistan, for example, a country which profits tremendously by the war of drugs. They can export heroin and obtain huge amounts of money, enough to easily fund terrorist organizations.

It is time to stop our domestic Vietnam and to look rationally at the failed effort to eradicate drugs and start putting more emphasis on education not incarceration, I hope we take a hard look at our CIA running around the world participating in counter drug efforts, taking time and resources away from very real threats to the United States, such as terrorism.

In fact, I believe that when the black market for drugs no longer has a monetary incentive to survive, then we will truly be free of the worry that terrorists can fund themselves through drug money and fly airplanes into American buildings with relative ease.

Kathy O'Donnell

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