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Courageous TV

October 01, 1988

Three cheers to ABC for having the courage to air the marvelous three-hour "National Town Meeting on the Legalization of Drugs" program with Ted Koppel on Sept. 13.

After all the emotional hysteria clouding this important issue, it was very refreshing to hear such normally conservative voices as William F. Buckley speaking articulately in favor of the legalization, taxation and state control of drugs.

The program certainly put things into perspective when it was pointed out that U.S. Surgeon General Koop's own figures about the cost in human lives per year of our government's 50-year-old failed drug policy: more than 300,000 deaths due to cigarettes, more than 60,000 alcohol-related deaths, yet fewer than 6,000 deaths due to illegal drugs (including heroin).

Human beings are not essentially self-destructive. Just let us be educated (not propagandized), and we'll not choose self-destructive behavior.

SAMUEL J. NEWELL

Los Angeles

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