Are drug-free zones illogical?



(Bedford) Times-Mail

Some key legislators want to do away with Indiana’s tough, penalty-enhancing “drug-free zone” law, saying it no longer serves its original intent of protecting children from drug dealers.

The 1987 law can double or more the prison time for people caught with illegal drugs within 1,000 feet (equal to about three football fields) of a school, park, apartment complex or housing project.

It was supposed to create a safe harbor around places where children gather. But critics question whether drug-free zones actually deter drug activity and instead result in unfairly harsh penalties that drive up prison costs.

State Sen. Brent Steele, an influential Republican lawmaker whose district includes much of Jackson County and who’s already said he’ll push in the next session to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, believes it’s time for the drug-free zone law to go.

The Bedford attorney and legislator said the drug-free zone law is a “stupid, illogical” measure that was born out of good intent but put into practice poorly.

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