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Treatment speaker's mom, or jail?

        I found the article about Iowa House Speaker Ron Corbett's mother ("A Painful Lesson on Peril of Drugs," Feb. 20) very illuminating considering a bill pending in the House Judiciary Committee (H.F. 2060) to increase the penalty for simple possession of crack cocaine and other illegal drugs to a Class D felony.
        For Representative Corbett's mother to develop the severity of addiction that she did (having to declare bankruptcy as a result), she must have possessed crack cocaine hundreds, if not thousands, of times.  And yet Representative Corbett said, "We need to help those that are addicted to seek treatment."
     What does Corbett mean?
        This situation clearly shows the hypocrisy and absurdity of our current drug laws.  There are people serving long prison sentences for possessing less crack cocaine than Rob Corbett's mother had.  She admits to being a habitual lawbreaker , and yet no one is suggesting (and rightly so) that she go to jail.
     Nothing could better illustrate the victimless nature of drug possession and abuse than this case.  The victim is the drug abuser.  We should be figuring out alternatives to putting drug abusers in prison.  These people need a doctor, not a policeman.

-- Carl E. Olsen,
1116 E. Seneca Ave.,
Des Moines.

        I'm glad that Ron Corbett's mother kicked her crack-cocaine habit and that her son loves and forgives her.  I'm glad, too, that she didn't end up in prison for possession or distribution of drugs.  As Corbett says, what happened to his mother could happen to anyone.
        Why, then, does he draw the hard line between addicts and those who prey on them?  Addicts deserve treatment; preyers deserve punishment.  There is absolutely no evidence that putting people in prison removes dangerous drugs from our homes and streets.  We need to try something else, and preferably something that will help us all to live together and not to scapegoat any segment of our society.

-- Deborah Fink,
222 S. Russell, Ames.

corbett.jpg (30877 bytes)
Ron Corbett, the speaker of
the Iowa House

The Des Moines Register
Sunday, March 1, 1998, Page 7AA.

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