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Reagan's Fight Against Drugs

August 18, 1986

Your editorial (Aug. 6), "Kicking the Habit," realistically evaluated President Reagan's six-point program to fight drugs--a program that lacks meat. I'm very pleased, however, that the President is now talking about the drug problem.

Southern California parents recognize the drug epidemic in their schools and agree with his goal of drug-free schools, but, at the same time, not kicking kids out of school for using drugs. Sadly, some secondary school administrators advocate kicking kids out of school.

Obviously, when teen-agers are on the street, they're forced into crime in order to support their drug habit. Instead of the street, the government should establish 24-hour drug rehabilitation programs, for most parents can't afford $1,500 to $10,000 a month 24-hour drug therapy for their children. This will provide a clear message from the government that drugs and gaining an education don't mix.

The current federal budget for drug treatment and education is only $234 million. Clearly, this is very inadequate to attack and stop the public's demand for illegal drugs. The problem is too big for the individual, and it now requires strong government leadership.

And I agree with the President that there's a need for "prompt and severe punishment" for drug smugglers and pushers. In fact, they need Malaysia's capital-punishment message.

Drugs and alcohol are destroying many of our youth and adults. Their attitude must be changed toward the use of these substances, which requires an extended national crusade.

Finally, I'm pleased the government is beginning to recognize the problem; however, it must support solutions with more dollars or face the consequence of having many useless citizens.

HUGH C. HYDE

Chula Vista

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