Pubdate: Tue, 15 Sep 1998
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Author: David Tapley


As one of an ever-increasing number of parents who are attempting to
cope with the frustration and demoralization that is associated with
the issues pointed out in your "Hell of Heroin" series, I offer the
following as food for thought:

* The war on drugs has lasted longer than any other American war. For
30 years, the U.S. government has struggled to contain and eradicate
the illicit drug trade. It is no closer to winning that struggle today
than it was three decades ago. This is a war with no end in sight.

* If a middle-class businessman smokes cigarettes, drinks excessively,
eats red meat and doesn't exercise, his lifestyle can lead to heart
disease and cancer. We do not question whether he should be given the
best medical treatment to save his life when he's wheeled into the
emergency room with a heart attack. We treat the health problem. Yet
when a heroin addict presents himself for treatment, the public and
even some substance- abuse professionals feel entitled to pass
judgment because "he did it to himself."

It appears quite obvious that past and present public and political
sentiment and the resulting initiatives aimed at fighting the drug war
from the supply side, although well-intentioned, have yet to make
even a small dent in the supply.

Maybe it's time for us to take a hard look at providing funding for
other alternatives that have been available for years, at considerably
less cost.

David Tapley
Fort Worth
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Checked-by: Patrick Henry