“When I started as district attorney in 1999, I didn’t even know what methamphetamine was. I’d heard of it, but I didn’t know what it was,” he said. “I’ll tell you that that substance, if there’s evil in this world, it’s methamphetamine. That substance is so addictive and so powerful that it takes people’s lives away... So the criminal justice system says that the first thing we’re going to do is to try to treat them, if it is an addiction.”
Lowe said the nature of an addictive drug problem makes probation hard for offenders, noting “if you have a drug addiction, your chances of making probation are less than half.”
In general, he said the first option is to help with the root problem by sending users to a substance abuse sanctioned facility.
“But at some point in time, you have to tell them, ‘You made your choice. You chose this drug over your family, your community, your life,’” Lowe added. “And we send people to prison everyday for drugs. You have to say to those people, ‘You made a choice, the wrong choice, and we’re going to lock you up.’”
Lowe said young people have to understand that drugs are anything but glamorous, and so his office has a history of giving stiff sentences to users.
Lowe said he was committed to the community and the fight against drugs.
“It’s been my great honor and pleasure to be district attorney. It’s been 16 years. My hair is a little grayer, but I don’t think our job is done, that my job is done for the people of this county.”
Lowe said over the years, he had built a great team of prosecutors and investigators, that his office had collected over $700 million in hot checks, started a family violence program and a DWI no-refusal program, and maintained a strong record.