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'Don't Give Up on Drug Users'

May 29, 1988

Cal Thomas took a wrong turn in his logic ("Don't Give Up on Drug Users," Op-Ed Page, May 19). His argument assumes that preventive measures can't or won't be taken against drug abuse if drugs are legalized.

In fact, it would be much easier to mount programs designed to persuade drug users to get off drugs and to convince potential drug users not to start if drugs were legal. We could use all the energy, money and manpower that we are now expending fighting drug abuse for such programs, thereby reducing demand.

He also misses the point that drugs are "sold," "promoted" and made desirable in a variety of ways because they are so profitable. Drug pushers are called "pushers" because they "push" (market) drug use. Drugs aren't automatically "cool." They are given an image by marketing.

He also speaks of decay. There is no doubt about this, but what about the decay that is accelerated by making drug dealers super-rich? They can use their billions to influence politics and business.

The correct tactic would be to legalize drugs, but allow them to be dispensed only at certain controlled outlets that purchase them from controlled manufacturers, with both allowed a small profit or no profit.

The people who don't want decriminalization of drugs are those that profit from drug abuse. Don't listen to them.

TERRY TURNER

Glendale

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