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America's War on Drugs

September 23, 1986

I wait for months on end for articles as courageous and intelligent as the one written by Stephen J. Morse, "Drug War Is Worse Than the Drugs."

The price we all pay by continuing to criminalize drugs is much too high to accept. Morse outlined most of the major arguments against criminalization admirably, although his approach was a little reserved. He could have made it clearer that most of the more horrible and costly aspects of the drug problem would be eliminated almost immediately through legalization. The problems that would remain would have to do with the users themselves, and those problems would be much better handled with sympathy and assistance than with laws, guns and jails.

One specific point that he omitted is one that will have disastrous effects on the future of humanity if legalization is not addressed soon. That is that the second largest population of people who have AIDS are intravenous drug-users. By keeping these people underground we can only be assuring that this and other diseases will be spreading that much faster.

Advocating the decriminalization of drugs is not advocating the use of drugs, it is merely approaching the problem objectively and rationally. I would hope that the many self-righteous moralists from all over the political spectrum who support the current outrageous "war on drugs" would be willing to step forward and take some responsibility for the growing number of deaths, murders and diseases that they are helping to increase through their archaic "moral" fanaticism, and for the billions of dollars that they are helping to channel to various kinds of organized crime throughout the world.

MICHAEL MORAN

Pacific Palisades

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