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By Louise I. Gerdes

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I look back on it now, and I view drugs as a handicap. I stopped because it was a handicap. The same with drinking and tobacco. But did my friends and I belong in jail? I don’t think that we should continue to lock up Americans because of bad choices. And what about the bad choices regarding alcohol and tobacco? I’ve heard people say, “Governor, you’re not comparing alcohol to drugs? ” I say, “Hell no! Alcohol killed 150,000 people last year. And I’m not talking about drinking and driving. I’m just talking about the health effects.

To begin with, there is the historical example of Prohibition. During Prohibition, there was a decrease of 20 percent to 50 percent in the number of alcoholics. These estimates were calculated based on a decline in cirrhosis and other alcohol-related deaths; after Prohibition ended, both of these indicators increased. Currently, relatively few people are steady users of drugs. The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study reported in 1995 that only two-tenths of 1 percent of high-school seniors are daily users of either hallucinogens, cocaine, heroin, sedatives, or inhalants.

Should you go to jail for using drugs? And I’m not talking about doing drugs and committing a crime or driving a car. Should you go to jail for simply doing drugs? I say no, you shouldn’t. ” Well, you tell the truth: that by legalizing drugs, we can control them, regulate and tax them. Excerpted from Governor Gary E. , October 5, 1999. 48 Legalization of Drugs THE BOOK 2/11/04 1:55 PM Page 49 Drugs Should Be Made Controlled Substances 49 If we legalize drugs, we might have a healthier society. And you explain how that might take place.

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