Pubdate: Mon, 11 Dec 2000
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2000 The Washington Post Company
Contact:  1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071
Authors: Lisa Fallin Paddock, John Verdi
Note: 2 LTEs, one from each side of the issue


Shame on The Post for insensitive sensationalism in referring to Robert 
Downey Jr. [Style, Nov. 27] as a "35 year old actor/addict."

Were Mr. Downey suffering from epilepsy or asthma would The Post have 
called him a 35-year old "actor/epileptic" or "actor/asthmatic"?

Addiction is a disease. Practice compassion.

Lisa Fallin Paddock, Camp Springs

Richard Cohen lets one star blind him from seeing the sky ["Robert Downey's 
Problem--and Ours," op-ed, Nov. 30]. He describes Mr. Downey and drug 
addicts generally as "mere users" and observes Mr. Downey's drug use with 
"pity" not "fear."

Mr. Downey is a rich man who indulges his drug abuse in a $600 per night 
resort hotel. He is not soon expected to rob, steal and maim to acquire 
drugs. However, Mr. Cohen would be wise to fear the long, broad network of 
people engaged in supplying Mr. Downey and not-so-celebrated drug addicts 
with cocaine and methamphetamine. What are these people willing to do to 
ensure that Mr. Downey can get drugs?

Nonviolent drug users should be directed toward treatment before 
incarceration. However, what treatment opportunities have been beyond the 
reach of Mr. Downey? He is a repeat offender who has demonstrated, again, 
that he cannot care for his condition. I hope his next incarceration will 
be the treatment he responds to.

John Verdi, Takoma Park
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D