Dopey Logic

In the war on drugs, guess who's winning? "Teen Drug Use Doubles in Three Years," screamed one recent newspaper headline. "Teen Cocaine Use Up 166 Percent," announced another. Marijuana use jumped 37 percent, according to a government report, and teen use of LSD increased by 183 percent in the past four years. Both President Clinton and Bob Dole think they know how to solve the drug problem--but both of them, I'm afraid, miss the mark. Dole says we need to increase drug penalties and use the National Guard to seal off our borders. If that doesn't work, Dole says, we should call out the army. Well, I have news for Bob Dole: We could call out the army, navy, air force, and marines--and build Star Wars to boot--and we'd still have a massive drug problem. When I was in prison, there was never a night that the dormitory was not filled with the aroma of burning marijuana. If officials can't keep drugs out of prisons with barbed wire and guard towers, how are we ever going to keep them out of a country with thousands of miles of open borders? And Dole's plan for tougher penalties overlooks the fact that federal drug laws are already very tough. In one recent case a man who was paid $500 to drive an acquaintance to a drug deal was sentenced to 10 years in prison. How much tougher can we get than that? President Clinton's answer is no better. He says the solution lies in more drug education. But we already have plenty of antidrug programs, and drug use continues to skyrocket. The reason antidrug programs don't work is because they have no moral base. Listen to behavioral psychologist William Coulson, whose work is the basis for virtually every drug program in America. Ironically, Coulson has now denounced his own educational theories. As Coulson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, drug programs fail because drug counselors "operate in a system of moral relativism: They studiously avoid casting matters in terms of right and wrong." Exactly right. Without a moral base, you can preach to kids all day about how wrong drug use is, and their response is likely to be: "Sez who?" In our morally sanitized environment, that is a perfectly reasonable response. The president and Bob Dole can jawbone all they want about how to fight drugs. The truth is, we will never solve our drug problem unless we recognize that drug abuse is not a supply-side problem. It's a problem of unquenchable demand. Kids today are heavily influenced by popular culture. Many films, songs, and TV shows are dedicated to the pursuit of hedonism. Is it surprising, then, that young people so thoroughly primed for pleasure will give in to the promise of pleasure that drugs offer? In the end we have to teach kids why they shouldn't use drugs. We have to teach them that you don't find meaning in life by getting stoned on drugs but by having a personal relationship with Christ. That's where real meaning and purpose in life is. We have to counter the cultural bankruptcy that tells kids there's no other purpose in life but to get high.  


Chuck Colson


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