The Latest Effort in Virginia's War on Drugs 

The Latest Effort in Virginia's War on Drugs 
Posted by FoM on February 14, 2000 at 14:52:20 PT
Editorial By John Hager 
Source: The Roanoke Times
 Over the past two decades, both political parties in Virginia have worked in a sincere effort to reduce a soaring crime rate.   In the past two administrations, the men who've occupied the Governor's Mansion have made remarkable progress to reduce crime in Virginia by abolishing parole, enacting sentencing reforms and revamping the juvenile-justice system. 
  These bold steps have worked. In 1998, Virginia's index crime rate reached its lowest point since the mid-'70s.   Despite these positive trends to reduce crime in Virginia, illegal drug use in the state continues to plague our commonwealth. Between 1988 and 1998, the arrest rate in Virginia for possession of illegal drugs -- narcotics and marijuana -- increased 60 percent. Between 1988 and 1999, drug arrests rose from 16,000 to 30,000, more than three times the number of arrests for violent offenses. Today in Virginia, juvenile drug offenders represent 10 percent of new probation cases, with more than half of these young drug offenders requiring substance-abuse treatment.   Methamphetamines pose an imminent threat to our children and our public safety. These drugs can be produced using widely available commercial products and are no longer confined to the western or southwestern portions of the country. These drugs, dealers and their illegal "meth shops" are now invading Virginia. We must work together -- without political posturing -- and enact a series of new laws that will stem this horrid flow of illegal drugs into our state and severely punish those who attempt to sell drugs to our children. We must also offer treatment and substance-abuse counseling to those who are in need.   As lieutenant governor, I am working to promote a series of bills that will toughen penalties for drug dealers and chronic users, break the link between drugs, guns and children, offer cash bounties for dealers and establish a new state police division to fight narcotics and drug-related crime.   This crucial program is called SABRE: Substance Abuse Reduction Effort.   The SABRE legislation calls for tougher penalties for drug dealers and chronic users by redefining "drug kingpin" requirements and imposing mandatory, lifetime imprisonment for these notorious drug criminals.   SABRE legislation also imposes a 20-years-to-life sentence on anyone convicted of possessing major quantities of drugs and five-year mandatory minimum sentences for those who import illegal drugs into Virginia, with 10 years for subsequent offenses.   SABRE also calls for a minimum, mandatory one-year penalty for those who supply firearms to minors, a minimum one-year penalty for selling drugs in a drug-free school zone and a six-month penalty for selling steroids.   In addition, SABRE legislation calls for establishing $10,000 cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of:   People who deal in large quantities of drugs.   Pushers who sell drugs to our children.   Methamphetamine lab operators.   Finally, SABRE will establish a Drug Eradication Division with at least 150 new officers under the direct control of the state police superintendent.  This division will provide a permanent force to assist localities in fighting narcotics and related crime problems. It will increase the commonwealth's ability to interdict the flow of illegal drugs, narcotics and weapons on roadways and improve public safety by allowing troopers currently in special drug-control units to return to traffic control.   While SABRE calls for tough penalties against heinous drug dealers and career criminals, drug treatment is also a major component of this fine legislative package. SABRE legislation requires first-time drug offenders to undergo drug testing and treatment and perform extensive community service. SABRE also fosters expansion of peer-support groups and aftercare treatment programs, as well as developing structured transitional-release programs.   These various bills that make up the SABRE legislation are designed to protect Virginia's children, improve the quality of life for all residents and make substantial gains in our war against drug abuse.   At this writing, many of these bills are moving through subcommittees and will be voted on in this session of the General Assembly. I call on all Virginians to rally around this legislative package and let their representative know how important the SABRE program is to protecting our most treasured resource, our next generation of children.   John Hager is lieutenant governor of Virginia. Published: February 14, 2000Copyright  2000 and partnersCannabisNews Articles On Mandatory Minimums:
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Comment #4 posted by David Toft on April 10, 2001 at 16:06:35 PT:
Draconian laws.
Enacting laws like those associated with SABRE are the legal equivalent of a sculptor using a sledgehammer to create a statue. They are too blunt, too restrictive on personal freedoms, too patronising to the thousands of people in the state of Virginia (and the millions worldwide) who appreciate that drugs can be a part of their lives without causing any damage to themselves or society.In my opinion more damage to society comes from criminalising a significant section of the population who decide that they want to have freedom over what they do to THEIR OWN BODIES.This is the crucial point. No-one has any right to dictate to me what I do with my body.My body may well be a temple, but I am an atheist.....ignorance, prejudice and fear are behind these laws. become aware, Virginia, this is the wrong road....
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 14, 2000 at 21:17:39 PT
Hello observer!
Thanks Observer! I agree MapInc. and DrugSense are the finest organizations to be involved with. They are serious, dedicate and patient. Anyone that wants to take part and learn to do more should pay ateention to these web sites. I feel safe and I feel if I need help someone in these organizations will listen and that means so much to me!Peace, FoM!
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Comment #2 posted by observer on February 14, 2000 at 19:47:02 PT
Drug Dealers (or "Chronic" Users)
''The SABRE legislation calls for tougher penalties for drug dealers and chronic users by redefining "drug kingpin" requirements and imposing mandatory, lifetime imprisonment for these notorious drug criminals.''More penalties against "users"? Thanks for protecting freedom, Virginia. Washington, Jefferson, Mason and Madison must be spinning in their graves seeing how petty tyrants like John Hager & Co. victimize the ones they are elected to protect, as John Hager rapes the Bill of Rights he was sworn (?) to uphold. May the fascism Hager supports and increases lock his own in prisons, just as he thinks to abuse others. May God help Virginians and all people be spared more such police-state abuse.
fight back now, here is how!
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on February 14, 2000 at 16:42:42 PT
Whipping the waves
There's a legend that said King Canute ordered his soldiers out to the shore one day to use their whips on the waves as the tide rolled in. You see, he had given the ocean explicit orders not to allow any tides. The soldiers, no doubt knolwing it was all a crock and the king a nutcase, nonetheless did as he ordered, and spent a useless day beating water.It seems pols have not learned anything in the 3,000 years since that episode. Hager is a lot like this King Canute; quite sure that reality will conform to his decree. And he'll be very ticked off at someone when it doesn't. But it will make not one ounce of difference. The DrugWar has rolled merrily onward for 86 years now. The hard stuff rolls in by the metric tonne. Governments are still being corrupted, from the lowest cop to the highest minister. Tens of thousands are still dying from turf battles and civil wars. And pols like Hager still don't get it. They never do.
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