Treating Addicts is The Best Way 

Treating Addicts is The Best Way 
Posted by FoM on March 20, 2000 at 21:06:05 PT
By Charley Reese, Columnist Orlando Sentinel
Source: Orlando Sentinel
Suppose your son or daughter became addicted to crack cocaine. Suppose he or she committed some nonviolent crime to support the habit. Suppose he or she was arrested.At this point you may suppose that the police would notify you. 
It doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes cops, using prison sentences as a threat, will force a nonviolent first offender to become a confidential informant.In one case, a 19-year-old girl was wired, given $85 to buy crack and instructed to go to a crack house and smoke the dope with a man the cops suspected of murder, and try to get him to talk about it. She failed, and the cops charged her with the original offense.Her father, one of those World War II veterans not so easily intimidated by bureaucrats and politicians, was outraged. "Just what was plan B?" he inquired of the cops. "What would you have done if this guy had discovered the wire and killed my daughter? I'll tell you what you would have done. You would have called her mother and me, and you would have said you found our daughter's body, and it appears to be drug-related. And you would never have admitted her murder was your fault."Outrage has led to a crusade to persuade the Florida Legislature to pass a law that would prohibit police officers from using addicts who are first-time, nonviolent offenders as confidential informants. He also wants a law that would send first-time, nonviolent offenders who are addicts or mentally ill into a treatment program rather than a prison.Harold P. Koenig's logic is irrefutable. But logic and common sense don't always work in politics. Law-enforcement types are opposed to his sensible ideas, but they are wrong, and he is right.This so-called war on drugs, now more than 40 years and uncounted billions of dollars old, is a flat failure. There are more drugs available now than there were before. And, as everyone knows, the only answer is to cut the demand. You do that by treating addicts, not stacking them up in prisons.Addiction to a chemical substance is an illness. Mental illness is a medical problem, not a law-enforcement problem. Koenig, though well past retirement age, went unarmed to several drug dealers in his county and asked them, "Who are your customers?" He got virtually the same reply from all of them. Seventy-five percent are addicts released from prison or jail; 15 percent are addicts who haven't yet been caught."So there is 90 percent of their market, and if, by mandatory treatment, you could cure 75 percent, you'd put these guys out of business," Koenig said. "That's a much better approach that interdicting supply, which is an obvious failure."Koenig is going to need a lot of help if he is going to overcome the resistance of the law-enforcement bureaucracy that gets millions of dollars to "fight the war on drugs." But his approach makes sense. Doing the same old same old does not.Koenig has formed an organization he calls H.E.A.R.T -- help early addicts receive treatment. You can contact him at 341 Lanternback Island Dr., Satellite Beach, Fla. 32937. The phone number is 321-773-0298.Don't be misled. Koenig hates drugs and drug dealers. He just has sense enough to realize that treating the addicts is a better way to put them out of business.As for forbidding cops from using nonviolent first offenders as undercover informants, common decency demands that. It's one thing to force a career criminal to be an informant. It's quite another to put a sick, but often nave, young person into a position of danger.  Published: March 19, 2000in The Orlando Sentinel  2000 CannabisNews Articles On Treating Drug Addicts:
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Comment #3 posted by congressmansuet on March 21, 2000 at 10:38:09 PT
Sadly folks....
  the narco-warriors will have little trouble defending their actions, and many, well intentioned people will help them. First, the "This kid was a bad crackhead, she knew the property well, she was trying to turn her life around by assisting us, people must remember, this was no innocent child, this was an admitted crack cocaine abuser....and if she had received the proper upbringing at home, none of this would have happened in the first place...the "War on Drugs" must be fought at all costs, we must use any and all methods at our disposal to win this war, and keep drugs away from our kids, so if the the methods we used seem extreme, remember we are doing this for the KIDS" salvos will be fired, attempting to put the blame for the incident back on the kids parents, and sadly this will be enough to quell alot of displeasure with the scenerio among the populace. Instead of it becoming more and more obvious that the WosD cannot be effectively won, people are still falling for the bs that these people hand them. And for the most part it is because the WosD doesnt effect them personally, it is easy to have a "tough" stance on issues that have little bearing on your life, but let a son or daughter get arrested and we see the issue become relevant. It seems like this kind of misfortune is neccesary to get good, honest citizens to support harm reduction policies.
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Comment #2 posted by A Mom on March 21, 2000 at 00:35:23 PT
Law Suit
Nothing was mentioned about a lawsuit? Did these cops get away with sending a teenager into a crack house to tape record a murder suspect? Please tell me it's not true.They're not cops, they're gestopos.
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Comment #1 posted by MMM on March 20, 2000 at 22:49:47 PT
This is headline news...
If this guy's voice could be heard, communities around the nation would be up in arms knowing their kids could be used as bait at the risk of their lives. This really is a sick society.. sicker than I thought. If the U.S. would only open their eyes and look how other countries are decriminalizing they wouldn't be pulling these outrageous crimes against kids!! Someone should alert the media, but the word isn't getting out. 
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