Pubdate: Tue, 8 Dec 1998
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 1998 The Orange County Register


So U.S. customs inspectors strip-search 2,447 airline passengers a
year, in some cases, forcing them to undergo pelvic exams and/or take
powerful laxatives ["Customs Service drug searches prompt outrage,
lawsuits," Second Front Page, Dec. 3]. Of these, 27 percent are found
to possess drugs and 73 percent, or 1,786 do not.

When so many innocent people are subjected to traumatic invasions of
their persons, it raises serious questions about the underlying issue.
Namely, our government's position of fighting drugs at any cost.

I oppose the wholesale legalization of drugs because of the public
health issues involved, and recognize that no perfect solution is
possible. On the other hand, surely we should try some combination of
providing  drug treatment programs, heavily penalizing those who
provide drugs to children, cutting off government subsidies (such as
welfare) to drug-users who resist treatment, and legalizing the less
lethal drugs.

In a free society, some people will always make self-destructive
choices. Better to let them do it than for our government to violate
the fundamental rights of so many people who never made any such choice.

Jackie Hyman
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Checked-by: derek rea