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Prison Terms

August 06, 1992

My first reaction on reading "Long LSD Prison Terms--It's All In the Packaging" (July 27) was: Have we all gone stark raving mad? The teen-age Levon Dumont's 15-year, 8-month sentence for LSD possession is outrageous, especially given our justice system's leniency for other crimes such as assault.

More than an injustice, sentences such as Dumont's, and the elaborate enforcement mechanism that produces them, are a tragic misdirection of resources. Drug use is a symptom of a society so alienated that for some, poisoning the body is a way of life. Apprehending and locking up drug offenders divert enforcement resources from real crime.

It's time to move toward drug legalization, not because drugs are good (they're not) but because, just as we could not continue to pay the costs of the Vietnam War, we will not be able to afford the financial and social costs of the drug war. Let's treat drugs like the other two poisons we tolerate, alcohol and tobacco, and divert the vast drug war apparatus--cops, courts, jails, dogs, etc.--to stamping out real crime.

HERBERT G. ROSENBLOOM

Sepulveda

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