Pubdate: Tue, 31 Aug 1999
Date: 08/31/1999
Source: Oregonian, The (OR)
Author: Ancil Nance

The Oregonian, along with many others in the anti-drug crusade, has
for years promulgated the line that drugs are addictive, especially
"gateway drugs" such as marijuana.

On Aug. 21, you quoted White House drug czar Barry McCaffey, who says,
"probably 70 million Americans have used an illegal drug---one third
of all Americans aged 12 and older."

Yet those who have tried "overwhelmingly have walked away from drug
abuse." It is about time the anti-drug folks wake up to the real
problem. It is not drug use, but drug abuse. If we concentratrated on
why people abuse any of the drugs, why their lives are so bad that
getting high or drunk is a better alternative, we would be on the
right track.

Find out why most people don't abuse, don't get "hooked" and then use
that information to help those who do.

The billions spent on drugs, in consumption and prevention, could
better be spent early in the stages of child development.

As boring as some classrooms are, as deadening as some jobs are, as
hopeless as some lives are, it is no wonder kids turn to drugs. Solve
those kinds of problems and you wont have a drug problem to kick
around anymore.

Part of the problem would be to get the anti-drug forces off the drug
welfare dole that has been their living for the last 20 years.

Ancil Nance
Southwest Portland