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War on drugs reaches 40th year

June 26, 2011
By CATHY BROWNFIELD - Family Recovery Center , Salem News

At the 40-year mark of Richard Nixon's 'War on Drugs,"it's as controversial now as it ever was. If LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) had its way, legalizing drugs would end the violence.

However, take a look at some of today's headlines:

"States would have to implement drug testing for welfare program under bill"

"Global commission urges end to criminalization of drug use."

"Tennessee law enforcement officials say new anti-meth law isn't tough enough"

"Rise in popularity of synthetic drugs in PA leads to jump in drugged driver arrests"

"Prescription pill use among teens leads to heroin addiction, NJ experts testify"

"Health authorities to study 'bath salts'; ban could be next step"

"Emergency room visits rise for drug-related suicide attempts in young men"

"Shrinking federal funds for meth lab cleanups hitting Tennessee hard"

The war on drugs will likely continue, yet families continue to face each day's events, sometimes turning to catastrophe.

LEAP's report says it "questions cost, ethics and effectiveness of arresting and incarcerating Americans for possession of drugs." The group advocates legal regulation of "sales of illicit drugs, including marijuana, heroin and cocaine, ending violence of drug cartels, avoiding imprisonment and increasing available funds for drug treatment and prevention," says

On the other hand, ONDCP (the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) issued its report highlighting "the connections between drug use and crimes other than, or in addition to, drug possession and trafficking.

ONDCP's director, Gil Kerlikowske, said, "Drug addiction is too often the root of crime in our communities. Supporting innovative initiatives that divert non-violent offenders into treatment instead of jail and expand treatment access for incarcerated individuals can help break the vicious cycle of drug use and crime, reduce recidivism and make our communities healthier and safer."

However, when the crimes are happening in your neighborhood and affect your family, it's a challenge to support those innovative initiatives. Emergency responders don't always know when they arrive on the scene that a meth kitchen is involvedwithin short distance of children playing in the yard next door. States are passing laws to close down meth kitchens, but law enforcement on the front lines are saying that isn't enough because cooks find people willing to "smurf" for them, meaning that they buy the smaller amounts of cough and cold medications that are legal.

Federal funding for meth lab cleanups was cut earlier this year by more than $4 million. Since the cuts, say, meth lab seizures have fallen by 50 percent.

In Pennsylvania, 'bath salts' are legal. We aren't talking about the aromatic additions to your bath water, but synthetic drugs. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) advises that, yes, they are legal and you can buy them in convenience stores. That doesn't mean they are safe. They can cause convulsions, panic attacks, even suicidal thoughts, sources say.

Back in Pennsylvania, bath salts are so popular there has been a rise in arrests related to drugged driving. A new law, waiting for signature of the governor, bans synthetic drugs and puts them on the Narcotics list. Several states have banned their use. Others, including Ohio and Maryland are considering the same action.

The drug war continues, as does the debate over one of the most lucrative businesses of our time. How important it is for families to remain informed, to nurture close family ties that off healthy support.

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities. For information about our education, prevention and treatment programs, contact us at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email,



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