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Federal government changes its harsh drug policy

In 1971, President Richard Nixon announced what would become a decades-long war on drugs. This war sent thousands of Americans to prison simply for possessing small amounts of controlled substances. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the war on drugs had little effect on drug usage, sales or production in the country.

The U.S. Department of Education participated in the war on drugs by suspending government-backed financial aid for college students. This harsh drug policy caused higher education to become unaffordable for many. Unsurprisingly, the DOE’s approach disproportionately disadvantaged minority students.

The end of an ugly era

Thankfully, the DOE has changed the way it awards loans, grants and work-study funds to college students who have drug convictions on their records. Now, while the DOE continues to seek information about drug convictions, education officials do not consider them when making financial aid decisions.

A limited change

If you rely on government-backed financial aid, you are likely to appreciate the DOE’s policy change. Unfortunately, though, this change does not apply to private actors. If you receive independent scholarships, a drug conviction still may jeopardize your funds. The same may be true for financial aid from your college or university.

Your future prospects

Even though you no longer need to worry about losing your government-guaranteed financial aid, there are many good reasons to fight any drug charges you are facing. Perhaps the most significant of these is your future. Remember, if you have a drug conviction, you may have difficulty obtaining employment, securing a professional license or even renting an apartment.

Ultimately, once you explore all possible defense options, you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your criminal matter.