Pubdate: Mon, 29 Nov 1999
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 1999 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Page: 28A
Contact:  1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA 22229
Fax: (703) 247-3108
Author: Dan Litwin


I feel bad for Robert W. DeStefano, whose letter stated that as "someone
who suffers from an addictive illness," he has seen many people ruin their
lives ("Ignorance about addiction," Nov. 22).

His negative reaction to the idea of legalizing pot and other drugs stems
from his own personal nightmare. For most of us, this is not reality. Pot
has not ruined our lives, nor the lives of our friends. But for many
addicts, this is all they can see. And many addicts cling to the
prohibitionist delusion, because they are as addicted to power as they were
to drugs.

Rationally considered, the war on drugs is a war against sanity. It
corrupts our police and political system with bribes. It shreds the Bill of
Rights while creating inner cities full of black-market gang warfare. Kids
are actually born into these gang zones and -- facing their own
kill-or-be-killed reality -- become gang members willing to kill people for
their tennis shoes.

Legalizing drugs will end this nightmare for most of us.

Sadly, for people like letter writer DeStefano who cannot see the
difference between his suffering and "someone suffering from diabetes or
cancer," the nightmare is internal, eternal and a grim and potent reminder
to the rest of us how not to act with drugs -- legal or not.

Dan Litwin 
San Diego, Calif.
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