Pubdate: Mon, 21 Aug 2000
Source: Oregonian, The (OR)
Copyright: 2000 The Oregonian
Contact:  1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201
Fax: 503-294-4193
Author: Richard E. Bayer, M.D.


Thank you for the article "Fight drug war by treating, not just jailing 
addicts" (Aug. 8). The cornerstone of our nation's effort to decrease 
substance abuse must be treatment rather than jail.

While substance abuse is our leading cause of incarceration and we imprison 
more than 2 million citizens (the highest rate among Western democracies), 
substance abusers seldom have access to treatment. Government policy is 
nonsensical. Treatment is unequivocally cheaper and more effective than 
jail, but our politicians (including President Clinton, Al Gore and George 
W. Bush) refuse to be convinced by the facts.

Physicians for Leadership in National Drug Policy has a quality Web site 
( and invites physicians and medical students who agree with 
the Consensus Statement to become associates of the group. Substance abuse 
originates as a medical problem, so it's about time that physician leaders 
spoke up.

Richard E. Bayer, M.D.

Southwest Portland
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