Pubdate: Mon, 30 Apr 2001
Source: Northwest Florida Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2001 Northwest Florida Daily News
Author: Jane Marcus


When college basketball star Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose in 1986, 
his senseless death marked the beginning of the "war on drugs." Now, in 
remembrance of young Charity Bowers, we can make her senseless death in 
Peru mark the end of a policy that contradicts the very spirit of her name 
(Daily News editorial, "Two more victims," April 25).

We should demand that our government stop defining drug abuse as a crime to 
be fought with police, military and "collateral damage" and insist that it 
start defining drug abuse as an illness to be addressed by medical and 
public health professionals.

In the name of Charity, we should spend the billions of tax dollars wasted 
on prisons and ineffective interdiction on more cost-effective and 
compassionate treatment and rehabilitation.

The deeply religious families of Charity and her mother, Veronica, believe 
that God's reason for taking their loved ones will one day become clear to 
them. If people of good will open their hearts and speak their minds, a 
reason for these tragic deaths may become clear to us all.

Jane Marcus
Palo Alto, Calif.
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