Pubdate: Wed, 23 June 1999
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 1999 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Author: David Tapley


I share everyone's sorrow and anguish over the loss of loved ones by heroin
or any other drug. I have personally experienced the frustration and
hopelessness associated with drug abuse by a family member.

Now I appeal to the common sense of your readership with these facts:

* Legal drugs (alcohol and tobacco) have been directly responsible for far
more health-related problems, crime and deaths than all of the "illicit
drugs" combined.

* If "zero tolerance," stiffer penalties for drug dealers and users, and
further legislation were deterrents to drug abuse, why is the situation
getting worse? The "get-tough" policy has been around for more than 20
years and has obviously been a dismal failure.

* It should be apparent to anyone that scare tactics, as employed by our
current drug education programs for young people, are ineffective, mainly
because the facts are misrepresented. This may have the reverse effect of
creating in our young people serious doubts about the motives of law
enforcement and authority in general.

I was once a staunch supporter of the "get-tough" policy until I became
personally involved and took it upon myself to get the facts. All drugs,
legal or not, can be harmful to health -- and even fatal under certain

David Tapley
Fort Worth

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