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Letters to the Editor // Legalizing drugs wrong

Title: Letters to the Editor // Legalizing drugs wrong
Date: Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Publisher: El Campo Leader-News
Main source:

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Whatever happened to "Just Say No to Drugs"?

In every newspaper of significance, across the Internet and on the airwaves, arguments rage back and forth about the legalization of illicit drugs. Just months ago, the only drug under legalization scrutiny was marijuana. Now, legalization advocates have extended the argument to include cocaine and heroin, drugs that are much more often the target of rehabilitation stays.

Arguments in favor of legalization offer such humanitarian benefits as "less drug-related violence," "less illness," "use would still be a public nuisance that could be fined," "drugs would be purer, less contaminated and under controlled distribution."

The legalization movement is an utter reversal of Nancy Reagan's message of the 1980s, "Just say no to drugs." At that time, Americans were not willing to throw up their hands and admit defeat.

The argument to legalize these drugs is a blatant admission that those who are supposed to treat the addicted or reduce demand have no successful way of doing so. I work at Narconon Arrowhead, a large drug and alcohol rehabilitation and education center in Oklahoma and I do so to give people a chance to live drug and alcohol-free. I am not willing to throw up my hands and admit defeat.

What mother in America thinks that legalizing heroin, cocaine or marijuana is a path to success? I didn't have this attitude with my son when I discovered that he was smoking pot and drinking at the age of 12. It took a little time and some hard work, but I made sure that he learned why to be drug-free. He has been free from any such problems for 10 years.

Today, I decided to find out for myself whether or not legalizing heroin had any merit. I sought out a Narconon graduate who had been a heroin addict for decades, but who is now completely drug and alcohol free.

I asked him what affect heroin, just the drug itself, had created on him and his life.

He told me, "If you take away the affect of the illegal acts that made me homeless and put me in jail, the drug itself robbed me of my life. I was anesthetized. I could not feel happiness. I couldn't see that my family was suffering along with me.

"I didn't see my family for more than a decade and I have just now reunited with my daughter after 11 years. I wouldn't want anyone to go through what I have gone through."

Since I've been at Narconon, I have seen people recover from a degraded and debased condition and be restored to vigor, health and enjoyment of life. I see it happen every day.

If it's possible to give those who have been addicted to heroin, cocaine, OxyContin, marijuana, methamphetamine or alcohol enjoyable, drugfree lives again, why should we admit defeat?

When recovery is possible, it is not necessary to knuckle under to spurious claims that legalization is the only solution.

Myself, I will continue to champion a drugfree future for all Americans.

Karen Hadley
Narconon Arrowhead staff member
and mother