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Legalization as a Solution to Drug Problem

November 27, 1988

Your Nov. 20 commentary "Legalization Will Save Lives, Money and Hurt Only the Drug Dealers" by Dr. William Anderson is right on the mark. I personally know Dr. Anderson to be a caring, human physician who does not take this stance lightly.

I have come to the same conclusion (e.g., limited legalization) after being a hospital administrator for 20 years. The drug situation continues to deteriorate and law enforcement cannot keep up. No drug czar, no task force and no high technology (planes, guns, boats) will stop this flood. A major answer seems to be to take the profit away.

I happened to speak with a judge from southern Arizona this past week who described how rampant the drug trade is across the border with Mexico. Drug barons buy "ranches" that straddle the border, allowing them movement at will. Youngsters make thousands of dollars per week moving drugs while unemployment stays high. Murders are increasing.

The issue will be heavily debated and dire consequences will be predicted. But Bill Anderson is correct that unless we demand that elected officials legalize drugs, it will not be done. Also, there is now a huge "drug-fighting" bureaucracy that has been evolving that will not want to see their jobs disappear.

What choice do we all have? Nothing has worked yet.

CRAIG G. MYERS

Santa Ana

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