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Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 15, 2013 at 6:58 AM

Rethinking drug enforcement in the U.S.

Zero tolerance counterproductive

Regarding the thoughtful editorial on drug policy, the drug war is part of the problem. [“Time to de-escalate the ‘War on Drugs,’” Opinion, Aug. 13.]

Illegal drug users are reluctant to seek medical attention in the event of an overdose, for fear of being charged with a crime. Attempting to save the life of an overdosing friend could result in a murder charge.

Overzealous drug-war enforcement results in preventable deaths.

Rehabilitation also is confounded. I think it’s safe to say that turnout at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings would be rather low if alcoholism were a crime pursued with zero-tolerance zeal.

Eliminating the penalties associated with illicit drug use would encourage the type of honest discussion necessary to facilitate rehabilitation and save lives.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.

Comments | More in Politics | Topics: drug policy, drug war, illicit drug use

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