Pubdate: Mon, 04 Sep 2000
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2000 The New York Times Company
Contact:  229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036
Fax: (212) 556-3622
Section: Letters'
Authors: Corinne A. Carey, Lucy Friedman
Note: Though listed as PUB LTE, the following is one PUB LTE, and one LTE


To the Editor:

Re "Listening to a Change in the Silence," by Joyce Purnick (Metro Matters 
column, Aug. 31):

To begin a real debate on drug policy, we must confront our conflicting 
attitudes toward problem drug use.

Do we understand it as an involuntary disease, demanding solutions that 
focus on treatment and harm reduction, or do we see it as a criminal 
justice issue?

If we view problem drug use as a health issue, we must recognize that the 
treatment currently available doesn't always work and isn't suitable for 

According to studies, 30 percent of those who receive treatment fail to 

The answer to inadequate treatment is better treatment, not a resort to the 
criminal justice system. After all, we would never jail a cancer patient 
when treatment fails to cure.

New York, Aug. 31, 2000

The writer is director, Harm Reduction Project, Urban Justice

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To the Editor:

"Colombia Says Key to Drug Fight Is for U.S. to Tame Demand Here" (front 
page, Aug. 30) makes a valid point concerning the importance of investing 
in effective drug prevention strategies.

One proven approach is after-school programs.

While research has shown these programs to be highly effective at reducing 
adolescent drug use, as many as 15 million children have no access to such 
programs because of inadequate financing.

When Congress and President Clinton consider expenditures intended to 
reduce the demand for drugs, financing for after-school programs should be 
at the top of their list.

New York, Aug. 30, 2000

The writer is president of the After-School Corporation, a nonprofit group. 
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart