Phi Beta Cons

Addiction, underestimated

Berkeley’s student government is offering a stipend to students whose federal aid is cut off for a year because of a drug conviction, the LA Times reports.
Students say they are protesting the “unfair” law, saying that it deprives students of education. The White House Office on National Drug Control Policy says that continuing aid is “not helping the person get the help they need to deal with their disease.”
The government is concerned with investing ($82 billion last year) in educating young people capable of being leaders, or at least being responsible citizens, and those struggling with addiction are not the best choices for that investment.
Berkeley has long had a history of proportionately higher numbers of campus drug arrests, so to these students their law is likely seen as a “second chance” for friends and peers. But the best way to help these struggling students may be to provide clear consequences and incentives for staying on the right track.

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