Pubdate: Thu, 11 Aug 2005
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2005 The New York Times Company
Author: Peter Provet


To the Editor:

John Tierney ("Debunking the Drug War," column, Aug. 9) is right that
"America has a serious drug problem." The problem is so serious,
however, that the danger of overdramatizing the potential of a
methamphetamine epidemic is worth risking a loss in credibility and an
accusation of crying wolf.

It's not easy to spot the tipping point when drugs like
methamphetamine, crack cocaine or heroin spread from a small minority
of users to a larger population. But what we do know from studying the
1980's crack epidemic is that once a drug is desirable, accessible and
profitable, market forces of supply and demand take hold.

Law enforcement is one response. Forcing dealers out of business and
making it harder to obtain the raw materials in methamphetamine
production will limit the spread of use and save lives.

Likewise, the media can play a critical prevention role in
demonstrating the devastation that this drug wreaks on individuals and

The third essential strategy, though neglected, is treatment.
Treatment does work; there's no debunking that.

Peter Provet

President, Odyssey House

New York, Aug. 9, 2005
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