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'Don't Give Up on Drug Users'

May 29, 1988

In response to Thomas's column against the legalization of drugs, emphasizing character reconstruction instead, both can be done simultaneously.

Legalized availability and management of drugs at affordable prices can be instituted for current users only. The incentive for pushers to initiate new drug users is thereby lost since the new user would not be a future customer.

Most illegal drugs are very inexpensive to produce. With a ready, timely source of narcotics, the drug user can still lead a somewhat productive life instead of being a parasite. These sustained users stand a better chance for rehabilitation. They may become effective spokespersons to potential drug users by talking about the horrors of their addiction. The message is more meaningful when delivered by a person one can relate to.

I agree with the title of the column. We should help drug users through their physical dependency so that they can begin to concentrate on their character and simultaneously end the enormous drain of America's resources to drug lords--both domestic and foreign.

DAVID L. GARIN

St. Louis, Mo.

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