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family but those you are trying to help. Do you see any sense at all in making drugs available to these people?
Mr. WHITFIELD. Only if I am a member of some pharmaceutical company or have a tremendous amount of stock. Other than that,
no, I don't.
Mr. RANGEL. You may proceed with your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF GLORIA WHITFIELD, RECOVERED ADDICT
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 work force. 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 exceeds 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, i.e., persons seeking rehabilitation services on their own initiative. Persons seeking assistance are supposed to be drug free, completed or currently in residential or out-patient 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. We all agree that 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 am naive 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 interest is in taking the mega profit out of the sale of illicit drugs. Well, to me that is 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 Americans by destroying their minds, their motivation to succeed and their will. Addicts are motivated only toward 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 its own destruction. Every time we make a deal with or support in any way those countries whose main source of income comes from exporting cocaine or 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 marijuana? 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. A gross exaggeration? Not really. Think about it.
Where do we draw the line? Uppers and downers, amphetamines and barbituates can be found in most households' medicine cabinets. Drugs are already legal in this country and fradulent prescriptions are big business. Yet some of our legislators will
“То hell with it, let's make it even easier for them to drop off, beam up and freak out.” But keep in mind those "them” that they are talking about happens to be our future because America's future rests with our young. Legalization of drugs calls for a forecast 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, and, believe me, I know. 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? Heroin? Cocaine? 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 is 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 problems of drug abuse.
It further shows an insensitivity equal to those who currently control the flow of drugs into this country. Legalization of drugs would be one more step toward perpetuation of evil influence over the people instead of a more progressive step toward addressing the socioeconomic 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, mental illness, 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 toward destruction of mankind. Drug abuse weakens the mind and destroys the will of those who fall victim to it. America should wage a real war against drugs using any means necessary to prevent them from entering our ports and crossing our borders. Think about it.
Mr. RANGEL. I have never heard a more eloquent statement. [The prepared statement of Mrs. Whitfield appears on p. 154.]
Mr. RANGEL. Let us now hear from Richard Karel, Northern Virginia Journalist.
TESTIMONY OF RICHARD KAREL, NORTHERN VIRGINIA
JOURNALIST Mr. KAREL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I was recommended for this hearing following my participation in Mayor Schmoke's drug workshop in August of this year. As a student years back, I tutored inmates in prison for drug offenses to help them receive their high school diplomas. I am very sensitive to these things just discussed.
As a journalist I have covered drug trials, interviewed law enforcement officials, and prosecutors, examined the issue of urine testing and seen the daily impact of substance abuse on a growing suburban community. Although my views have evolved over 15 years of observation, the policy paper submitted to this committee was formulated in direct response to Representative Rangel's tough questions.
In my unabridged paper, which I request of the chairman be entered into the record, 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 on the intrinsic pharmacology of each substance and the application of regulatory and fiscal mechanisms designed to protect the public health.
As Mayor Schmoke so eloquently said, the war on drugs should be led by the Surgeon General, not the Attorney General.
I believe I share the goals of Representative Rangel and others and believe sincerely that current policy is highly counterproductive.
Legalization, what Representative Scheuer has called the "L" word, is an emotionally charged word implying for many legitimatization.
My approach, in fact, is 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 some instances rationing amounts sold per person within a certain period of time.
In brief, my recommendations are merely a variation on the old theme of using both carrot and stick. The carrot would be legalization of less harmful forms of certain currently illicit drugs in order to draw people away from more harmful substances. The stick would be retention of legal penalities on use or 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 cost of alcohol legalization and the supposedly forgotten lesson, that despite crime and vio lence, public health improved dramatically during prohibition.
There is, however, Mr. Chairman, another even more dimly recalled lesson of the prohibition era, and that is that during the same period we in America were criminalizing alcohol to fight the negative health consquences of abuse, Great Britain was attacking the same problem through a combination of higher taxes, rationing and limited hours of distribution. When the Volstead Act was repealed in America, it did not take long for alcohol abuse to rise once again, and with it alcohol-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 off. They have remained relatively low ever sense.
Interestingly the most recent study on cirrhosis in the United States indicates a steady decline in the last decade. We are not sure exactly 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 is 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 focused on keeping sub stances 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 my specific regulatory approaches to interested members. Thank you.
Mr. RANGEL. Thank you.
Mr. RANGEL. We have been joined by Robert Dornan of California. We welcome your participation.
Let us hear from Paul More, Development Director, the Scott Newman Center.
TESTIMONY OF PAUL MOORE, DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, THE
SCOTT NEWMAN CENTER Mr. MOORE. Thank you, Chairman Rangel, committee members, Co-Chairman Gilman.
My name is Paul Moore. I am the Community Liaison for the Scott Newman Center. Since 1980, the center has been dedicated to preventing drug abuse through education. Our efforts include media education and the development of prevention films, school curricula and books aimed at young people and their parents.
Our center's headquarters is in Los Angeles and as an Angeleno, I am intimately aware of how smog affects us. At its most benign it obscures a clear view of reality; at its worst, it is unhealthful and may cause permanent damage to your health, even to the point of death.
The same can be said about the legalization of drugs. The center is unequivocally opposed to the legalizing of drugs. The more time we spend debating this polluted idea, the more currency we give it, the greater risk we run of permanently damaging our society. Why are we not spending this time in the more constructive task of developing sound prevention, threatment and rehabilitation policies?
The answer, of course, is the topic of legislation is media-glamorous, you aren't going to get this many cameras for a prevention meeting. It makes for a facile, sensationalized discussion on talk shows, in op-ed pages and in news magazines. We as a society seem addicted to the hype of miracle solutions that look good but don't work.
In arguing for the legalization of drugs, proponents mistake effect for cause. In their simplistic world view, crime and official corruption here and abroad seem to have been invented by illegal drugs, and only the magic word “legalization” is needed for these problems to disappear. Do they think the American public just fell off the turnip truck?
Drugs, drug abuse and associated crime are the ugly, visible sores of deeply rooted problems in our society, nation and world. They are the chickens of neglect coming home to roost. Drugs did not invent poverty, broken homes, gangs or unstable, profiteering foreign governments. Drugs did not invent greed, nor latchkey children nor the human desire for a quick fix and easy out. Nor, for that matter, did drugs invent the general breakdown of moral and ethical values.
Without drugs, these problems remain. With legalized drugs, they become more insidious, more intractable, because society will have deemed one more poison legally acceptable.
There is a darker, underlying current in the arguments for legalization—that somehow, if only we would let the ghettoes and barrios have the drugs we assume they want, the druggies won't be breaking into the homes and apartments of the rest of us. We will have "sanitized” the problem. The facts are, of course, that drug use and abuse extend well beyond ghettoes and barrios to suburban
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