Pubdate: Tue, 16 Dec 1997
Source: Los Angeles Times
Author: Rita Lowenthal

Re "Actor Robert Downey Jr. Given 6-Month Jail Term," Dec. 9:
Could anyone really believe that Robert Downey Jr., who has the
ability to have a full and creative life, would choose to be an 

When will we get over our moralistic naivete about addiction?
Someone may choose to experiment with drugs or alcohol; addiction
is not a choice. It cannot be punished away.

When will we believe the research that proves that addiction is a
chronic, relapsing medical condition that requires a variety of
treatment strategies based on an individual patient's needs?
When will we admit defeat? The war on drugs has failed. Perhaps
there is no panacea, there rarely is, but certainly the
criminalization of addiction is as wasteful as it is primitive
and immoral.

Rita Lowenthal
Santa Monica, CA