Letter: Berkshire United Way on wrong side of failed drug war

Berkshire United Way pushing failed drug war

To the editor:

It's sad to see Berkshire United Way, a charity ostensibly dedicated to "improving the quality of life" and promoting "sustainable change," seek to prolong the failed drug war alongside that war's chief local prosecutor and beneficiary, Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless.

The one-sided propaganda forum the United Way will hold at Berkshire Community College on Oct. 18 will surely not address the drug war's devastating toll on American communities in general and minorities in particular, the growing body of evidence that legal marijuana can reduce opioid abuse and the inarguable fact that illegal pot is much more widely available to children than is legal alcohol, which is another unintended consequence of the prohibition.

Massachusetts voters who haven't lost touch with reality for professional reasons are expected to approve full marijuana legalization on Nov. 8, and Berkshire United Way is squandering money that could have been used to reduce opioid overdoses on scaremongering billboards in an attempt to hold back the tide.

Board members representing the city's major employers and its civic institutions are out of touch not only with the community but also with the many substance abuse professionals and politicians around the world who have come to realize that prohibition is a public health hazard we can't afford.

This undermines the credibility of Berkshire United Way and its institutional backers, along with their many legitimate projects. Those who care about the Berkshires must get the organization off this doomed and harmful path before it's too late.

Igor Greenwald, Pittsfield


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