The sentencing of Robert Downey Jr. to three years in the penitentiary is just one more example of our barbarous approach to the drug problem in this country (Aug. 6). Fifty years from now they will look back on these times and shake their heads in disbelief that we put people in prison for addiction problems, instead of offering treatment for what is a health--not a criminal--problem.
The war on drugs is a total, miserable failure, and you need look no further back in our history than the pathetic attempt at prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s to see what a doomed policy it truly is. Prohibition didn't work then, and it's not working now.
DON M. HOWARD
Cheers to Mike Downey for his Aug. 6 column on Robert Downey Jr.'s jail sentence. Judge Lawrence Mira used very poor judgment in his decision on how the taxpayers' dollars are best spent and how to handle drug addiction. Housing and feeding drug addicts and exposing them to real criminals is not a solution. Helping them through rehabilitation is the only correct method to solve drug addiction.
Robert Downey Jr. is a public figure, so we will hear how he is handled by the system. How many drug addicts are incarcerated who we do not hear about? How many lives are destroyed because incarceration is an easy and short-term solution to a long-term problem?