Pubdate: Fri, 19 May 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
Author: Nilo Otero


To the Editor: A May 12 editorial about New York's draconian drug laws did
not mention one of their most tragic consequences. Because these mandatory
penalties do not apply to juveniles, minors have been recruited into the
more exposed aspects of the trade: transport, storage and sale of drugs.

In effect, these laws create powerful artificial market forces that draw
young people into a criminal world. A result has been the influx into
schools of drugs and money, as well as the guns to protect these "assets."
Legislators who express bewilderment at the current state of affairs need
look no further than themselves for answers.

NILO OTERO, Pacific Palisades, California
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