Drug 'war' part of the problem

Published: August 25, 2013
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Regarding Leonard Pitts' “Maybe nation is ready to end ‘war'” (Commentary, Aug. 16): The drug war is part of the problem. Illegal drug users are reluctant to seek medical attention in the event of an overdose for fear of being charged with a crime. Attempting to save the life of a friend could result in a murder charge. Overzealous drug war enforcement results in preventable deaths. Rehabilitation also is confounded. I think it's safe to say that turnout at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings would be rather low if alcoholism were a crime pursued with zero tolerance zeal. Eliminating the penalties associated with illicit drug use would encourage the type of honest discussion necessary to facilitate rehabilitation and save lives.

Robert Sharpe, Arlington, Va.

Sharpe is a policy analyst at Common Sense for Drug Policy, in Washington, D.C.