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Drugs and Strategy

August 24, 1986

George Wright's letter (Aug. 17) denouncing the glamour of drug use demonstrates some grave misunderstandings about the psychology of drug abuse. To be sure, drug use does have a glamorous allure, but that allure is encouraged just as much by law enforcement officers as by celebrity role models.

Drug use is certainly more an act of rebellion than emulation, particularly among adolescents. To expect more widespread law enforcement to have a lasting effect in reducing drug use is a strategy that squanders resources and overlooks Ovid's age-old and ever pertinent observation: Nitimur en vetitum (We strive for the forbidden).

Furthermore, Wright's characterization of the deaths of Len Bias and Don Rogers as "a couple of druggies who overdosed" is callous and ignorant. The factors that led those two outstanding athletes to ingest lethal doses of cocaine were more complex than misguided attempts to be hip.

If our society is to overcome its drug problem, we must acknowledge that drugs are not the root problem; rather, they are a convenient means of escaping those problems--temporarily. The underlying problems are loneliness, boredom and anxiety over the many crises that threaten our society and our civilization. To pursue a more rigorous program of law enforcement against drug users begs those issues and is a formula for continued failure.

RONALD BRUNO

Huntington Beach

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