Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 2003
Source: Pensacola News Journal (FL)
Copyright: 2003 The Pensacola News Journal
Author: Keith Brilhart


After reading comments by Kenneth E. Lamb (Viewpoint, Dec. 22), a
self- admitted former alcoholic, about the defendants recently
arrested in the bust of a cocaine ring, a few questions:

I gather that Lamb is better off as a result of coming clean. Was he
arrested? If so, was that instrumental in his recovery? If not, would
arrest have helped him to regain control over his life? And since the
defendants appear to be mostly pillars of the community, is their
arrest necessary to get them to gain control over their behavior?

What Lamb and others who have had a substance-abuse problem don't seem
to grasp is that most users don't become abusers. They can use a
substance without it becoming a problem, because they don't use it to
"kill the pain." Rather, they use it to unwind, or as a recreational
stimulant. It may not be the best choice, but it's one that most
users, including users of alcohol, manage to keep in control without
any problem.

It's people like Lamb, who develop an unhealthy pattern of use (abuse)
of a substance, who need drastic measures to control their problem.
Most people do not need this. And for those who do, or do not, the law
won't make any difference.

Mr. Lamb ought to think carefully about advocating "prosecution to the
fullest extent of the law."

Keith Brilhart, Mont Clare, Penn.
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