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It's Awareness That Is Needed, Not Punishment

September 21, 1985

Mike Downey's column on drug abuse in professional baseball perpetuates an archaic and unreasonable viewpoint toward a problem which is prevalent in our society.

Mr. Downey suggests that stricter punishment is in order as he cannot understand how baseball players "get away with this stuff." This stuff is in increasing usage and social acceptance, especially among successful young people, including professional athletes. The short-term effects are pleasant, leading to an increased desire for more. This in time leads to a psychological addiction which I have seen (tragically) develop with some of my friends who have achieved success at a relatively young age.

These people, including professional athletes, are not criminals as implied, but victims. The more that visible and respected people come forth to admit their problem and publicize the dangers of drugs, the better off society and especially impressionable young people will be.

Punishing the victims is not the answer; public awareness of the problem in order to solve it is.

LANCE MEIFERT

Thousand Oaks

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