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December 9 - 16, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Criminalization Is Failing

THANKS for your article on heroin in Santa Cruz. Clearly the criminalization of drug use and addiction is not helping anyone. Over the last 40 years we have increased our prison population from 200,000 to over 2,000,000, largely with drug offenders. Many others are locked up for drug-related crimes such as theft to pay for their next fix. Yet drugs are still readily available, even to kids; addiction is still rampant; lives and families are still being torn apart.

In my opinion, the entire drug war is counterproductive and hypocritical. In the first place, why is the government policing what people want to put in their own bodies? Clearly it is not to help prevent addictions or protect our children, seeing as addiction is rampant, and kids can buy illegal drugs easier than alcohol. Why are the urban poor and people of color so heavily policed and incarcerated for drug use, while college campuses and well-off high schools are all but ignored? How seriously can we take a "War on Drugs" made by a government which has repeatedly used drug trafficking to fund covert military operations?

It's high time we take a step back from the situation and consider legalizing, regulating and taxing drugs instead of pouring scarce tax money into failed policies of policing and prisons.

Steve Schnaar,

Santa Cruz

Real Pictures

KUDOS to Curtis Cartier for painting a very real picture of a day in the life of a heroin addict in Santa Cruz ("The H Bomb," Cover Story, Dec. 2). I would add that treatment for this chronic brain disease is ideally ongoing. The prognosis is good if a patient practices recovery skills for the rest of their lives. The addiction is powerful and we respect that. Relapse can occur due to the chemical changes the brain has endured, regardless of the amount of "clean time" a patient has. At Janus Community Clinic we work together with our patients to make positive changes in their lives beyond cessation of the drug per se.

Carol Morgan, Clinical Supervisor

Janus Community Clinic

Cheap Shock Value

YOUR story on the heroin problem in Santa Cruz was completely useless and in bad taste. Why useless? Well, it was circular in format, redundant and had no conclusion. I put the paper down and said, "So?" Why in bad taste? Because it was gratuitously graphic, and anyone of any age has access to your magazine. Children don't need to see pictures of people shooting up. Neither does anyone else, for that matter.

If you want to shed light on something like this, close it with a solution. In other words, "So what we need to do about this problem is ..." Otherwise, you've achieved nothing except a cheap shock value. Lame.

Lindsay Blaz,

Santa Cruz

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