Saturday, April 08, 2006

Busting teenagers

Maybe the Goose Creek litigation has something to do with this new trend I've been noticing lately. It seems you see less news of these random drug sweeps and more stories like this undercover operation.

Police said the undercover officer, Kaitlin Keane, [a 23-year-old employee of the sheriff's department] made 31 purchases of marijuana and one purchase of ecstasy from the students since January, when she began attending classes.

Keane told students her mother was dead, she had an absentee father and she needed drugs to dull the pain, Falmouth High students told The Boston Globe.

Jamie Heide, 16, a sophomore and member of the school's track team, said the undercover officer talked about drugs incessantly.

"It seemed like she was trying to score from everyone," he said.
One has to think that at least some of those kids may have been moved by her plight and simply hooked her up out of sympathy. The practical effect of this mode of investigation entices teens into obtaining drugs. Some may have not even thought of it before she hounded them.

But even if they were drug users, what possible purpose does it serve to criminalize teenage experimentation? It won't stop it, it will simply drive it underground and it seems more than a little counterproductive to be saddling teens with arrest records for non-violent crimes that will shadow them all their adult lives. It's unlikely to have any impact on the availability of drugs in the larger community and surely there's better uses for police resources.


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