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Public Safety and Drug Testing

March 31, 1988

Kaplan proposes that we should require urinalysis for all those who are arrested (presumably while on some unspecified level of drugs) and paroled. "A positive urine sample must mean a return to jail. . . ." His argument is couched in myth and misleading rhetoric. He sees all drugs as being equal and appears to see all levels of intoxication as equal.

He notes that drunken drivers lose some of their personal autonomy. Does he propose that those convicted of drunken driving be subjected to random urinalysis for alcohol, even while not driving? Presumably, one is stopped for drunken driving when driving performance appears to be impaired, not because of one's prior convictions.

Kaplan suggests that we shift our focus to drug users and away from suppliers. I agree. Without demand, there would be no supply, and we certainly seem incapable of interdicting supply. However, the only reasonable solution is to increase the penalty for the crime when the evidence indicates that the drug was contributory to that crime.

I hope that we are still innocent until proven guilty of a crime. Otherwise we would arrest all disadvantaged people because crime is more common among the disadvantaged. Kaplan should rethink his argument.

RICHARD E. WHALEN

Riverside

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