Pubdate: Sun, 08 Dec 2002
Source: Naples Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2002 Naples Daily News.
Author: Steve Hach


Editor, Naples Daily News:

Your story on the increase in drug deaths in Southwest Florida
demonstrates that Florida Drug Czar Jim McDonough's recent claims of
victory for his drug-control strategy are unfounded. As the rising
death toll across Florida shows, his strategy has failed.

McDonough often claims that his strategy is working based on small,
self-reported decreases in drug-use rates among schoolchildren.
However, Floridians under the age of 18 make up less than 2 percent of
the drug death cases for most tracked substances.

McDonough cynically ignores the very real problems that many older
Floridians face due to long-term addictions to heroin and cocaine
while he focuses on youthful experimentation with cannabis, the legal
drug alcohol, and the so-called "club drugs" -- which are responsible
for less than 5 percent of Florida drug deaths.

It is time for Drug Czar McDonough to quit making claims of drug war
victory based on survey data that assumes adolescent drug users will
be truthful in their responses. As a combat veteran of Vietnam,
McDonough knows full well the problems inherent in relying on
statistical data generated by bureaucrats when the "body count" tells
a radically different story.


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