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Mr. Chairman, members of this committee and interested persons :
I am employed with Rehabilitation Services Administration for the
District of Columbia in the capacity of Vocational Rehabilitation
Specialist. Rehabilitation Services Administration provides services to handicapped and disabled persons in an effort directed towards getting them back into the workforce. My office is located in the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Section of Rehabilitation Services. Drug addiction and alcoholism are considered disabilities under the codes and policies of Rehabilitation Services Administration and persons suffering from such are entitled to certain services. My caseload of clients, during a fiscal year, sometimes exceed 200 persons, from referral sources such as ADASA, Halfway Houses around the District, Hospitals, RAP, Inc. and other treatment regimes located in D.C. In addition, I receive walk-in referrals, 1.e. persons seeking rehabilitation services on their own initiative. Persons seeking assistance are suppose to be drug free, completed or currently in residential or outpatient treatment and ready for the vocational rehabilitation process. Drug addiction and alcoholism causes unpredictable behavior in individuals, and as a result, only a small percentage of my clients successfully complete the rehabilitation process. My training has afforded me the expertise of working with persons suffering from many different types of disabilities. But, as a Vocational Rehabilitation specialist in the drug and alcohol abuse section, I tremble to think what my caseload would be if drugs were legalized.
Our government in America is often accused of fixing things that are not broken and/or enhancing a problem rather than finding a viable
solution to eliminate the problem.
hat drug abuse is
a serious problem in our midst, but how can anyone who has any insight
or, any perception on drug addiction, believe that by legalizing drugs we would solve the problem of drug abuse. Or perhaps I'm naive in in believing that the problem of drug abuse holds even the slightest interest to those persons who would push for legislation to legalize drugs. Perhaps the main interést is in taking the mega profit out of the sale of illicit drugs. Well, to me, that's the same as our government saying "hell, I Want A Piece Of That Action". Why, it would make Uncle Sam the biggest dope pusher of all time. Is that not truly adding to our problem? Think about it.
Drug abuse is killing generations of young
ricans by destroying
their minds, their motivation to succeed, and their will. Addicts are motivated only towards achieving their next high. And drug addiction does not discriminate between my kids or your kids, race or religion, young or old, rich or poor. Families are being destroyed, generations of families are being destroyed and America is being weakened. Yet, America is assisting in it's own destruction. Everytime we make a deal with, or support in any way those countries whose main source of income comes from exporting cocaine and heroin, we are aiding and abetting in self destruction. Legalization of drugs would simply make the demand for their product even more appealing to such countries. Our farmers are catching hell trying to grow tobacco and collard greens, so where are we going to get the poppies and coca plants, and cannibis needed to process heroin, cocaine and mara juana? We would have to import. America would suddenly become partners with Noriega in the distribution of drugs, the Golden Triangle would become super powers and all of those other little countries whose gross national product is heroin and
cocaine would suddenly have access to nuclear warheads.
Think about it.
Where do we draw the line? Uppers and downers, amphetamines and barbiturates can be found in most households medicine cabinets. Drugs are already legal in this country and fraudulent prescriptions are big business. Yet, some of our legislators will say, "to hell with it, lets make it even easier for em to drop off, beam up and freak out! But, keep in mind, those "em" that they're talking about happens to be our future because America's future rests with our young. Legalization of drugs calls for a forecasts of a very dim future, it would insure America a future of space cadets that NASA wouldn't touch. Nor would Med School, Law School, Science and Technology, Aviation, or any other institute of higher learning and achievement, because, drug addicts are detrimental to themselves and to others. Drug addiction is a
sickness in which there would not be enough hospitals in America to treat if legalization existed.
Then too, what drugs are we talking about legalizing??
What about PCP? Maybe a little Acid?
Where will the line
be drawn, and why would it be drawn there? There are many people who fought like hell against the hint of legalizing reefer, yet, suddenly, the thought of putting the real thing on the market isn't too far fetched. It's really frightening. Have we seriously looked at the long and short term ramifications of such a move? First of all,
Doctors would be in demand like never before even though there is a
shortage of Doctors, and not to mention nurses, all across this country. Little clinics would spring up like liquor stores, on every corner, ready to distribute prescriptions for poison. The wino's we see every morning, on corners in front of liquor stores waiting for them to open, would hold no comparison to the line of dope fiends that
would be waiting outside of the little clinics and Doctors offices
on any given day.
"Hit the pipe", or "Take a fix" and call me in the
morning, would become a routine response.
Finally, compared to the percentage of our population who abuse drugs, only a small percentage are as fortunate as I am to find the strength to prevail and overcome my addiction, and to grow. For anyone to speak in favor of any legislation which would legalize this deadly poison in a false attempt to control the supply and demand shows a critical lack of perception and insight into the problem of drug abuse. It further shows an insensitivity equal to those who currently controls the flow of drugs into this country. Legalization of drugs would be one more step towards perpetuation of evil influence over the people instead of a more progressive step towards addressing the socio-economic problems facing the people, such as poverty, lack of education, lack of sufficient health care,
lack of adequate housing in poverty stricken communities which are dumping grounds for drug dealers; all of these things which makes a person eager to escape into the tranquil oblivion of drug abuse; teen pregnancy, child abuse, incest, and oh yes, the very rich, but very bored, depression, mentai 11lness, mental retardation; I could go on and on. Not to address these conditions is certainly a sin against mankind, but to add to these
problems would be a sin against God because it would be an overt move
towards destruction of mankind. Drug abuse weakens the mind and
destroys the will of those who fall victim to it.
wage a real war against drugs, using any means necessary to prevent
them from entering our ports and crossing our borders.
Think about it!
A SCENAFIO FOR ENLIGHTENED DRUG POLICY
[Copyright : 689, Richard B. Karal]
[Presentation to the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, September 29, 19ee, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.]
I was recommended to this committee because of a scenario originally presented to the Baltimore Commissioner of Health earlier this year. I am a journalist, not a politician or public official. Although my opinions and policy formulations have evolved over 15 years, this particular policy paper was formulated in response to the tough questions posed by Pep. Rangel.
In my unabridged policy paper, I have addressed in great detail regulation, taxation and control of drugs. Let us soberly examine the possibility that a sensible and morally defensible approach to psychoactive substances must focus on legitimate distinctions based upon the intrinsic pharmacology of each substance and the application of regulatory and fiscal mechanisms designed to protect the public health. I believe I share the goals of Rep. Rangel and others, and believe sinceraly that current policy is highly counteroroductive.
"Legalization" is an emotionally charged word, implying, for many, legitimization. My approach is, in fact, not across the board legalization. Indeed, I suggest that the more dangerous forms of illicit drugs remain prohibited to various degrees, and that we focus on ways of making legally available less harmful forms of some substances. I also recommend restrictions on age, advertising and points of distribution, and, in instances, rationing amounts sold per person within a set period of time.
In brief, my recommendations are merely a variation on the concept of using both a carrot and a stick. The carrot is making available less harmful forms. of certain currently illicit drugs in order to draw people away from more harmful substances. The stick is retention of legal penalties on cse and sale of other drugs and forms of drugs.
Whenever the issue of legalizing any of the currently illicit drugs arises, people point with fear to the high costs of alcohol legalization and the supposedly forgotten lessen that descita crime and viclence, Dublic health improved dramatically during Prohibition.
There is however, another even more dinly recalled lessen of the Prohibition era, and that is that during the same period we in America were criminalizing alcohol to fight the negative health consequences of abuse, Great Britain was attacking the same problem through a combination of higher taxes, rationing and limited hours of distribution. When the Valstead Act was
repealed in America, it did not take long for alcohol use and abuse to rise -- once again, ard, along with it alschol related health problems such as
cirrhosis of the liver.
In Great Britain, on the other hand, alcohol related health problems declined steadily during our Prohibition era and leveled o!!. They have remained relatively low ever since.
Interestingly, the most recent study on cirrhosis in the U.S. indicates a steady decline in the last decade. We are not sure why, but speculation centers on the general American trend toward exercise and health.
In the United States, we have seen education, labeling and enforcement of restricted sales of tobacco to minors greatly cut tobacco use and related health problems. No prohibition is necessary, and few think it advisable.
Let us keep this evidence in mind when we consider regulation and control of illicit drugs. My recommendations are based on the concept of making regulatory distinctions between different drugs and forms of drugs, and applying a combination of fiscal and regulatory mechanisms to protect the public health.
With prohibition concentrated on leeping substances such as crack and PCP away from the public, particularly children, and on keeping clinically controlled drugs from being diverted, law enforcement would finally have both a moral justification and a practical focus working in its favor.
I would be happy to provide examples of specific regulatory approaches during the question and answer period.