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Drug-Sniffing Dogs

July 26, 1998

* In your July 21 editorial endorsement of the use of drug-sniffing dogs by the Los Angeles Unified School District, you say these "amiable" Labradors and golden retrievers "are trained to detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, alcohol, a few medications and gunpowder."

Why not tobacco?

By including the nonaddictive and relatively harmless marijuana and excluding tobacco, one of the most damaging and addictive of all drugs, the LAUSD sends a very clear message to kids: "Tobacco is less harmful than marijuana." The best and the brightest students, who have done their scientific homework, will get a second unfortunate message: "Authority figures--from our teachers to the free press--don't know what they're talking about when it comes to marijuana, so why should we listen to them when it comes to other drugs?" Why, indeed?

PETER McWILLIAMS

Los Angeles

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