Pubdate: Wed, 16 Aug 2000
Date: 08/16/2000
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Author: Mark Gabrish Conlan

Re: "Seeing criminal addicts through middle-class eyes" (Opinion, Aug. 10):

I was taken aback by Jim and Ed Gogek's logic. They evidently have
decided that there are at least two classes of drug users: the
middle-and upper-class professionals who are able to control their
use, and the so-called "criminal addicts," who are a virtual different

It never seems to have occurred to the Gogeks that the difference may
simply be that middle-and upper-class drug users are affluent enough
to be able to pay for drugs, while lower-class users can't pay for
them without resorting to criminal behavior.

More and more, I think the model for a solution to the drug problem
lies in the approach we've slowly evolved regarding tobacco: Allow the
product to be sold legally, put a heavy tax on it and use the tax
money to pay for the genuine social harm caused, including costs of
treatment for addicts as well as the greater health-care costs they
will incur through the physical damage of long-term use.

Mark Gabrish Conlan,
San Diego