Tuesday, October 16, 2007

U.S encourages drug offenders to choose the army instead of college

A new short film on youtube produced by US based Students for Sensible Drug Policy highlights one of the more distressing outcomes of the when the US war on drugs collides with education policy and a crisis in military recruitment. The Military has changed its rules to make it easier for drug offenders to enlist... whilst the aid elimination penalty of the Higher Education Act denies federal financial aid to students with drug convictions. That's right, the federal government thinks drug users don't belong in college, but has no problem sending them to fight in foreign wars.

thanks to SSDP and Stopthedrugwar.org


Anonymous said...

Hey now -- professional soldiers are very competent people, and they have chosen to defend their country, so please show them some respect, even if they are ex-druggies.

For some druggies the army is a better place than college -- there are plenty of non-academic folks whose life is vastly improved by the challenge a professional army has for them, and they are just as smart as those who like to geek it at college.

Another thing I take umbrage with is that you assume the druggie to be a wimp without a will -- people who join the army know it's tough, and the army wouldn't take on people who'd end up being a liability anyway.

Steve R said...

theres no suggestion of a sleight against either the army or drug users by this blog or SSDP. The point is the contrast in, and politicisation of federal funding. The situation regards the army merely highlights the injustice and anomalous nature of the aid elimination penalty in the Higher Education Act.

Anonymous said...

Steve R, I have no idea what you mean here -- I'm confused. So, it's not meant like this, but still it's bad because it could be a political conspiracy to pressgang/browbeat druggies into the army? Or what? %-?

Either army or college is OK, as long as people get into something they really like and can stick with and if it what they want (and can) do.

It depends totally on the person and also on their personal development -- someone who is not ready to study at 19 can still be ready to start at 40.

Also, please value the routine that belonging to a stable and settled hierarchy brings to people whose life is a chaotic mess. The army is far better at offering the close-knit, normal community that a lot of addicts need to recover -- a college isn't the best place for people who have problems with managing independence and normal structure in their life.

But let's see in a few years who is right -- how many addicts are freed by the army and how many by college.

My money is on the army, sorry, and I don't think the policy has nefarious or political reason other than that the people in charge honestly believe that the army stands more of a chance to help drug addicts change their life.

Steve R said...

I absolutely don't have a problem with the army position, and I dont doubt it is a useful environment for some people with drug problems. I do have a problem with the HEA and think the SSDP make a good point by highlighting the contrast. I think it reveals the political rather than practical motivation behind the HEA penalty.

And the HEA isnt about addiction though is it. Most students who have missed out on federal funding have been busted for minor drug offenses, mostly cannabis, and dont have a 'drug problem' that requires treatment.