Dr. Kaufman quite rightly contends that one of the "nightmarish" problems about these drugs is that they are " . . . extremely addicting."
So are plenty of other things. Are we to be protected from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco for the same reason? Kaufman states that the addict will " . . . continue to use greater quantities at any cost."
This is true for the alcoholic as well. Alcohol is legal. Not all alcohol or recreational drug users will use in excessive amounts or in an addictive manner. These people have a right to guide their own lives.
Kaufman has a good point when he says that money " . . . should be diverted back to treatment and prevention." In fact, the money could and should come from taxation on drugs sold legally.
The doctor also states that, "Another key issue is the determination of eligibility. Would drugs only be given to hard-core users?"
We should use the same criteria as is used for alcohol. A novice in the use of alcohol can purchase a potentially fatal dose of alcohol just like a seasoned user. He assumes that "many relatively drug-naive individuals" might be enticed into addiction. Yes, some might be and some will be and some will not be so enticed. So, too, is the case with alcohol, tobacco and other things.
He assumes "that these drugs would only be dispensed with prescription" or youth will be "given the message that these drugs were OK by society's permitting them for adults."
The answer must be that we already do this in many ways with many things. We do not permit everything for children that we permit for adults.
The doctor states that availability "in the ghetto would further victimize minorities. . . . " In case nobody has noticed, they are available in the ghetto now! They just cost more and cause more crime than if they were legal.
Should we outlaw pawnshops and liquor stores that are now victimizing people from the ghetto?
The question is one of human rights. The right of the majority to govern themselves must not be violated because of a minority who cannot govern themselves well.
MILT ROUSE, Dana Point