* Re "Prop. 36 Would Be Death Knell for Drug Courts," Oct. 15:
Judge Ronald Kreber speaks to Proposition 36 and its "collaborative approach providing meaningful sanctions for program violations."
"Meaningful sanctions," I presume, means that this judge would like to continue having the power to threaten, punish or incarcerate addicts who don't " obey" him and use drugs. This "hammer approach" in the treatment of an addiction is exactly the kind of thinking that has no place in the recovery process. This is the mentality of a jurist--or a well-intentioned actor, one Martin Sheen--attempting to solve an extremely complex medical problem where the only certainty is its uncertainty.
The sooner the legal profession--and that includes the judiciary and law enforcement--realize and accept the fact that they do not have a role to play in the solving of a medical problem, the better off our country will be. Medical doctors are needed for detoxification and other physiological problems and specialists for unusually severe mental and emotional problems.
The recovery of the vast majority can best be left to recovered alcoholics and addicts, who recognize that the bottle, needle, spoon or whatever are but symbols of deeper, underlying problems. These problems are the focus of the recovered counselors, people who have walked the walk and talked the talk. They speak of solutions, not problems.
All this comes to you from a recovered, grateful alcoholic who has been privileged to play a part in many recoveries of the dually addicted in his 35 years of continuous sobriety, one day at a time.
JOSEPH F. MALLARD
* Re "Arizona's Drug Program Offers Preview for Voters" (Oct. 24):
I read with interest Jenifer Warren's report on Arizona's nonviolent drug offender treatment program, since I have three nephews whose lives have been affected by drugs. One is irreparably damaged, another has a prison record and the third was literally "scared straight" just in time.
I would like Maricopa County to add another unpleasant task "to those who test dirty" after treatment: Take them to a care facility and make them sit for 12 hours observing crack babies and other little victims of drug-taking parents.
I will weigh Proposition 36 carefully.