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Boot Camps for Drug Offenders

May 21, 1989

Here we go again. Bennett has promised to do for the war on drugs ("Bennett Outlines Anti-Drug Plan," Part I, May 4) in the Bush Administration what he did to education under the Reagan Administration.

The Draconian measures proposed by the drug czar threaten our most basic civil liberties and are guaranteed to fail. Confiscating the property of recreational drug users and throwing them in overcrowded jails is not going to make a dent, let alone solve, the drug problem. These people, for the most part, do not commit violent crimes against persons or property to finance their drug use. They do not form gangs to give them some sense of belonging.

Let's face it. We've lost the war on drugs. Even with an unlimited amount of money, we could never hire enough police, build enough jails, or create a court system adequate to process the millions of people involved with drugs. Something drastic must be done and the time is now.

We have lost the war and we must surrender. Legalize drugs. Take the obscene profit out of the market and the market will fold. Instead of spending billions of dollars chasing drug users and dealers, put that money into education and rehabilitation.

Bennett is right in one respect. We must attack drugs at their source. The source, however, is not a coca farm in Colombia or a poppy field in Turkey. It is the hopeless condition in the (U.S. housing) projects. And until that problem is addressed, all the king's horsemen and all the king's men will not eradicate it. Shredding the Constitution will only make the matter worse.

LEONA M. PFEIFER

San Diego

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