The latest tactic on the “War on Drugs” is to legalize marijuana. We did this with alcohol, and it did create tax revenue and cut down on crime related to the sale of alcohol – but alcohol-related crime still thrives.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), 37 percent of almost 2 million convicted offenders currently in jail report that they were drinking at the time of their arrest. In 2007, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which represents less than 1 percent of 159 million self-reported incidents of alcohol-impaired driving in the U.S. each year.
Each year, more than 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking. Ninety-five percent of all violent crime on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both, and 90 percent of acquaintance-rape and sexual assault on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both.
Every day, 36 people die, and approximately 700 are injured, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Drinking and drugged driving is the No. 1 cause of death, injury and disability of young people under the age of 21.
Not surprisingly, jail alone has had little effect on reducing drug addiction or promoting recovery. Holding someone in jail, without access to treatment, with no specific plans for treatment and recovery support upon release, is not only expensive, it’s ineffective. (from www.ncadd.org)
The connection between alcohol, drugs and crime is clear, as is the connection between alcohol, drug addiction and crime. We need to break the chain that links drug addiction and crime.
In 2010, 66 percent of children under 17 lived with two married parents, down from 67 percent in 2009 and 77 percent in 1980. Compared to teens in families with strong family ties, teens in families with weak family ties are four times likelier to have tried tobacco or marijuana and almost three times likelier to have tried alcohol.
Compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners per week, those who have fewer than three family dinners per week are twice as likely to say they expect to try drugs (including marijuana and prescription drugs without a prescription to get high) in the future (17 percent versus 8 percent).
The growth of incarceration in America has intergenerational impacts that policy makers will have to confront. According to this analysis, more than 1.2 million inmates – over half of the 2.3 million people behind bars – are parents of children under age 18. This includes more than 120,000 mothers and more than 1.1 million fathers. (from Drug War facts.org)
The Wise County Sheriff’s Department and local school districts are doing their job. It is the community that is failing. It was a common statement years ago: “It takes the whole village to raise a child.” But where is the village when students get in trouble? As a village, do we really care?
We have forgotten the importance of family values. We need a system that is willing to fix the broken and break the cycle, but this takes personal time – personal time for your family and personal time for your community.
A thought: Why not spend a few dollars and time teaching personal and family values instead of millions on a large Band-Aid? Schools can help, but the real problem lies in the heart.
To show someone you really care means so much. So many of the people in jail/prison did not, or do not, know how to love or be loved. Their parents or siblings did not teach this for various reasons. This is what they really need.