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You Don't Need Drug Laws to Punish People Who Steal

Submitted by smorgan on
The idea that our drug policy should prioritize public health over law enforcement is such common sense that even the drug czar is comfortable saying it. Yet Warren County, OH prosecutor Rachel Hutzel has bravely attempted to refute this emerging conventional wisdom in a perfectly incoherent editorial entitled Many drug offenders need punishment, not just treatment:

Many thefts are committed to get drug money. The majority of traffic-related deaths are drug or alcohol-related. And personal crimes such as child endangering and domestic violence are usually fueled by drugs or alcohol.
Many drug crimes should continue to be dealt with harshly. The people who are harmed by the selfish, destructive acts of drug users and drug dealers deserve nothing less.

Wait, I didn't hear anyone say anything about not punishing thieves, drunk drivers, and child endangerers. I'm pretty sure everyone's in agreement about that. If someone steals, can't you prosecute them for stealing? Am I missing something?

The abundance of crimes with actual victims is all the more reason to stop wasting criminal justice resources on people whose only crime was taking a drug that isn't allowed.

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