Pubdate: Sat, 09 Feb 2002
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2002 The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Jon Swift


After reading The Sun's article about Mayor Martin O'Malley's proposed 
advertising campaign to eliminate drug use in Baltimore within the year 
("Mayor hails city's gains," Jan. 29), I strolled out of my favorite Mount 
Vernon cafe feeling good, knowing that the neighborhood crackheads will 
soon be inspired to drop their nasty habit.

Back home in Fells Point, I greeted the panhandlers pleasantly, thrilled 
that the heroin addicts among them won't be using that drug much longer.

As for the dealers on my street, I'm glad that even the most unskilled and 
poorly educated of them will soon be getting real jobs doing - well, I'm 
sure Mr. O'Malley will think of something.

When an out-of-town friend called to ask how life in Baltimore is, I said: 
"Great! The city's closing library branches like mad, transit and schools 
are still grossly under-funded and health care for the poor remains nearly 
nonexistent, but at least the mayor's new ad blitz is going to get rid of 
the drug problem."

Then I walked up to my neighborhood bar, feeling a little sad that everyone 
who works there will soon be jobless - after all, alcohol is a drug, and if 
Mr. O'Malley really wants us to "get drugs out of our minds," well ...

Of course, I'm still unclear on the magic formula Mr. O'Malley and his 
friends in the advertising industry have apparently found to wipe out an 
activity millions of human beings have practiced for millennia - namely, 
the use of mind-altering chemicals as an attempted escape from boredom or 
intolerable living conditions.

But I can't wait to find out.

Jon Swift, Baltimore
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