Pubdate: Wed, 16 Aug 2000
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Contact:  PO Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191
Fax: (619) 293-1440
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 species.

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
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