Middle line needed in drug legalization
Regarding Matthew Rosson’s thoughtful Sep. 11 column, there is a middle ground between drug prohibition and blanket legalization. Switzerland’s heroin maintenance program has been shown to reduce disease, death and crime among chronic users. Providing addicts with standardized doses in a clinical setting eliminates many of the problems associated with heroin use. Addicts would not be sharing needles if not for zero tolerance laws that restrict access to clean syringes, nor would they be committing crimes if not for artificially inflated black market prices. Heroin maintenance pilot projects are underway in Canada, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. If expanded, prescription heroin maintenance would deprive organized crime of a core client base. This program would render illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable and spare future generations addiction. The U.S. drug war is in large part a war on marijuana smokers. Marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, only without the ubiquitous advertising. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin. Given marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol – the plant has never been shown to cause an overdose death – it makes no sense to waste scarce resources on failed policies that finance organized crime and facilitate hard drug use.
Robert Sharpe is a drug policy analyst from Arlington, Va.
Legalization the answer to U.S. drug problem
During my 18 years as a cop, I learned Matthew Rosson’s observations were correct; namely, we can not arrest our way to ‘victory’ enforcing drug prohibition laws. Drug dealers only fear one thing: legalization. A public health approach to drugs would be a positive step in the best direction for Texas. Ultimately however, to reduce crime, death, disease, promote stability in Mexico and to stop funding al-Qaida, the country needs to end modern prohibition. These drugs are too dangerous to leave their distribution in the hands of gangs, criminals and cartels.
Howard J. Wooldridge is an education specialist from Dallas.
Tuition price problem needs to be addressed
I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the paper this Friday and read that someone agreed with me on the extravagant price of tuition at TCU. I was relieved to learn I wasn’t the only person struggling to make ends meet just to pay for school, though it sometimes seems I am. It is especially difficult for me to keep a positive outlook on why I’m paying so much when I realize there are many students at the University of North Texas who will be getting the same jobs I will, but are paying about as much as I took out in loans this year. And I can’t help but wonder why I’m paying so much more.
My name is Katie Croll, and I’m a sophomore music education major here at TCU. I transferred in about 30 credit hours from high school in hopes of making my five-year degree plan take only four, because who can afford to stay here an extra year? When I opened the paper Friday and read about Mr. Hall’s burden, I made a realization. I’m paying about $37,380 per year to become a teacher. The average teacher’s salary in Texas is $38,857. That means in three years when I get a job, I’m only going to make $1,477 more a year than I’m spending on school now. Is it really worth it?
Maybe for some of our wealthier students, tuition isn’t that big of a deal. Their parents are paying for everything, and someday they’ll be making six figures. TCU pays full tuition, room, and board for some of the football players, and it’s wonderful they’re getting such a great education. But the university needs to think about all of its students, not just the wealthy and the athletically talented. Next year, I’m going to have two siblings and a parent in school, my annual income is around $2,000 because I don’t have a car to get to work in (not to mention no time for a normal job), and I think my family would struggle with the financial aspect of putting me through public school. I’m not here because I can afford it, and I’m not here because all the extra money I’m putting into school is going to get me a higher paying job. I’m here only because I get more personal attention than I would at, say, UNT, and I want to be the best teacher I can be so my students might actually learn something from me.
So, TCU, I beg and I plead that you will take those of us who are struggling into your consideration, and next year please don’t hike up the tuition so much. Please don’t raise the cost of the meal plan again, and don’t make me live in a super expensive dorm just because I’m a junior. I can’t afford much more of this before I’m in so much debt that I’ll never be able to pay it off. This isn’t a business, it’s a school, and I hope soon it will start getting treated that way.
Katie Croll is a sophomore music education major from Grapevine.