Pubdate: 20 Mar 1999
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company
Author: Richard D. Bonnette


To the Editor:

Even though drug treatment is effective, cost-effective and humane, it is
in shamefully short supply, as you point out (editorial, March 13). But
just as we cannot incarcerate our way out of the drug problem, we cannot
treat our way out of it either. We need to place an equal, if not greater,
emphasis on preventing drug use among children and teen-agers.

You accurately point to the shortcomings of the drug fight, but you fail to
mention what has worked. Contrary to what you say, the general level of
illegal drug use has indeed changed in 10 years.

In fact, regular use of any illegal drug has declined by 47 percent since
1985; regular use of cocaine is down by 77 percent.

Some experts believe these declines have contributed to record drops in the
crime rate. Does this constitute backfiring, or tangible progress?

Richard D. Bonnette President, Partnership for a Drug-Free America New
York, March 15, 1999 
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