Pubdate: Fri, 01 Jun 2001
Source: Northwest Florida Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2001 Northwest Florida Daily News
Authors: Amanda Jones, Manny Lovitto, Larry Seguin
Note: MAP provided title


In his letter ("I don't sympathize," May 24), John Stevenson wonders why 
people are writing from all over the country to the Northwest Florida Daily 
News about drug policy.

"I smell a rat," he says.

Mr. Stevenson apparently is unaware that we have reached a new era. People 
all over the country get their news on computers these days. If one is 
especially interested in a particular area of news, from one time to the 
other - the drug war, perhaps, or rape or embezzlement or robbery - one 
only has to do a newspaper search on the Web for that item.

Many people are interested in the massive human and financial disaster that 
is the U.S. war on drugs. We all should be interested in what our 
government is doing.

People who use computers can respond easily and quickly with an e-mail 
letter to the editor. That's why your newspaper gets letters from all over 
the country.

Mr. Stevenson should get out and around more. Things are changing all the 
time. He might learn something besides sniffing for rats everywhere.

Being a compassionate person, I feel inclined to show him mercy, even 
though he is not merciful himself.

Sulphur Springs, Texas

A SANE APPROACH John Stevenson, the writer of the May 24 letter, "I don't 
sympathize," obviously is surprised at how many people are in favor of a 
more rational and sane approach to our current failed drug-war policies.

Contrary to his implication, not all drug policy reformers are "siding with 
drug abusers." Rather, we simply believe that our valuable tax dollars 
should not be used in unproductive ways.

The cost of supporting the drug war exceeds $50 billion per year at the 
federal and state levels.

If your readers happen to agree with the thoughts of Mr. Stevenson, they 
might find it useful to make a contribution to the Partnership for a Drug 
Free America and other groups that support prohibition of (some) drugs.

However, if they have questions about the current drug war, they could 
increase their knowledge and awareness by visiting our Web sites, 
http:/ and also http:/

These two sites are designed to carry information from both sides of the 
argument, with an emphasis on moving toward more productive solutions.

Staff Editor


It's unfortunate that John Stevenson of Niceville (letter, "I don't 
sympathize," May 24) has been reading the Opinion page for only "the last 
few weeks."

The Northwest Florida Daily News has had excellent editorials, opinion 
pieces and letters to the editor for the past several months. Their purpose 
is to reflect the truth to readers about how horribly the drug war has failed.

Mr. Stevenson seems to have missed the boat on truth. His concern is money? 
His tax dollars help to reform and rehabilitate the 14 million people who 
are addicted to alcohol. He doesn't seem to be concerned about alcohol.

The federal government spends about $650 per second on the war on drugs. If 
Mr. Stevenson makes an "average" income, his share would be about $2,000 in 
taxes per year.

Lastly, Mr. Stevenson connects character to drug use. Do the names George 
W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Al Gore ring a bell? Their past drug use is no 
secret. The point is that not all drug users are abusers.

Daily News, keep up the good work. I find your articles to be of the 
highest caliber.

Lisbon, N.Y.
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MAP posted-by: Beth