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Letter: Arrest the drug users

Over the past few weeks, The Recorder as done an admirable job bringing to light the drug epidemic facing our community, however time and time again the people in charge of curing this epidemic are given a pass. The biggest failure on the “War on Drugs” has been focusing on ending the supply, while ignoring the demand curve, with the most recent headline being “We can’t arrest our way out of this” (May 6). That cannot be further from the truth.

Instead of focusing our efforts on stopping a seemingly endless supply, we should be aggressively aiming to stop the demand, to which I assert we can arrest our way out of this. We have tried education since the days of Nancy Reagan and “Just say no” and the D.A.R.E. program over 30 years ago; it should be clear at this point education is not the answer. Instead, we need to aggressively arrest and prosecute the users the fullest extent of the law to let the community know this will not be tolerated. Holding their hands and treating them as ‘victims’ will only serve to promote the behavior by removing accountability for their actions. With aggressive prosecution and jail time for users, we can neutralize supply by killing demand and scaring the populace from ever trying drugs in the first place. Admittedly, this is not the quick fix, but the quick fix has failed our society for over 30 years. This is the much-needed amputation to our gangrene appendage that will serve to stop drug use in future generations by fear of jail time and social ostracization. However, as our leaders continue to bury their heads in the sand, this epidemic will only get worse.


Turners Falls

While I typically lean to the side of pushing to make treatment available, I fully agree that the culture of victimhood is expensive to the state and not as productive as we would like to believe. There was a big bust recently where four of those arrested TOLD THE POLICE THEY HAD JUST GOTTEN OUT OF REHAB!!! Ask a recovering addict, and many will tell you that the best place to score a new connect is outside the methadone clinic. I believe that all people arrested for [consumer-side] drug offenses SHOULD be given the option of serving their time in a lockdown rehab center... But with the caveat that you get ONE SHOT. After that, it's grown-up prison, not another 60 days of arts-n-crafts therapy. Is this an oversimplification of what rehab is? Yes, absolutely; an addict who is emotionally invested in his own recovery will get a lot more out of lockdown treatment. But for the 22 year old junkie with a give-a-hoot attitude, a couple months of three squares, plenty of daytime TV, and enough suboxone to dull the pain isn't going to sink in. To the OP- Thanks for having the nerve to say in public what a lot of us fear speaking out loud.

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