Drug laws shouldn’t stop at treatment

NEWFANE — I've been thinking a lot lately about how to make our state a better place. This has led me to pinpointing the things I consider very troubling.

The first is the tendency of the Legislature to seemingly think that the northern half of the state should call the shots. Yes, there are more people and there is more money in that end of the state, but real lives of real, good people down in our neck of the woods are impacted by decisions made in Montpelier.

The second thing is the knee-jerk reactions, or “laws of the day,” that are neither fully tried on a small scale nor studied over time.

It is all well and good to be national leaders on certain issues, but that should not be the motivation, it should be the result of a clearly defined goal, well-crafted implementation, scientifically studied outcomes and - finally - laws. Writing laws first and then finding out the problems is ridiculous.

Need an example? Act 46.

This law was intended to reduce administrative costs. What has happened in reality is that it disrupted families, closed community schools, and resulted in longer bus rides. The administrative costs remain too high.

The last, and the most important, is the revitalization of our communities. The population is aging, young people are moving out, commerce within the communities is dwindling, and the young families can't afford to own a home in places where taxes keep going up.

For the state to be healthy as a whole, the individual towns and villages must be healthy and vibrant with younger generations.

Do we tackle the easy problems because the bigger ones are too hard? We can change what we do with food scraps, but we can't stop the proliferation of drugs?

Which law makes Vermont a better place? Which has more impact on our economy, our safety, our families, our very way of life?

Want to know how to fix many of our drug problems? Don't simply treat those who are addicted. Prevent the supply of drugs, enforce our laws, increase public education.

Stop creating more addicts. Treat the ones we have, and then concentrate on making Vermont as free from illegal drugs as it is free of billboards.

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