Gary Dennis: Tougher treatment needed with drug abuse, prostitution


An article and several opinion letters over the last couple of weeks looked at softening drug and prostitution laws.

As far as “harm reduction” (teaching people to use enough to not injure themselves or others) goes, that is a “crock.” I witnessed where this was applied, and strict behavioral requirements ignored — it resulted in underage teens driving blind drunk, a young man stealing a lady’s purse and going on a spending spree in Portland, another young man attacking someone with a hammer, and a young lady with her boyfriend beating and tying up an elderly couple during a home invasion in Auburn.

Most of the staff where these young people stayed lived out of town — convenient to not being in the line of fire. I watched a girl from a bad home turn to heroin, lose her kids, get jail time, and have her boyfriend pimping her out to support both their habits.

Laws are supposed to work to curtail bad behavior and protect the public. Someone who is stealing railroad spikes is not helped by being sent to school to become an executive of the railroad, because they will end up trying to steal the whole railroad.

You can’t change someone’s mind until there is a change of heart — only God does that. Until that happens, tougher mandatory treatment (with lockdown, if needed) is a better approach than jail or weakening criminal laws.

Gary Dennis, Lewiston


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