How we can win the war against drugsMayor Schmoke said it...

the Forum

December 20, 1991

How we can win the war against drugs

Mayor Schmoke said it. Dr. Neil Solomon, head of the drug and alcohol abuse commission, said it. Atty. Gen. Joseph Curran said it and Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg has said it: Drug abuse could be dealt with more effectively if it were treated as a public health issue rather than as a criminal justice matter.

We need to get on with it. Let Maryland be the first state to set up a program to deal with the situation accordingly, as Mayor Schmoke proposed more than three years ago: Dispense the more harmful narcotic drugs under medical auspices and eliminate criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana.

The money saved by not treating drug offenders as criminals ` i.e., arresting, trying, and incarcerating them - could be better spent on housing the homeless, keeping schools and libraries open full-time and keeping state employees and troopers on the job.

P. Pugh

White Marsh

Jarvis is honest

This is written in response to the letter by David S. Page (Forum, Dec. 9).

On Nov. 7, The Evening Sun's John Fairhall did an outstandin job in his article on Everett G. Jarvis' "The Real Cause & Cure o AIDS."

Mr. Page's statement concerning Mr. Jarvis' "doing harm, stirring up suspicion or causing disharmony" sounds like the little child who cried "witch!" at Salem.

If the treatment offered by the medical profession to victims of AIDS had even as much as a 10 percent success rate, it might be worthwhile for the public to continue blind faith in that direction. But current statistics prove that nearly 100 percent of the patients who submit to those therapies are dead within five years.

Mr. Page doesn't realize that it is the physicians, medical researchers and pharmaceutical houses that are "cleaning up" financially from the AIDS crisis - not people like Mr. Jarvis.

Kathleen Cox

Ellicott City

Rights vs. life

Steven Beckett is in many ways correct ("Losing our rights," Other Voices, Dec. 13). However, in substance I must state that he has not presented the entire story. For example, in this day and age perhaps it is better that some may lose their rights instead of losing their lives. There was a time when citizens were more concerned with their rights than their lives.

Yes, our rights have been narrowed, as Mr. Beckett states. This has been caused because the criminal element is out of control. For example, every day The Evening Sun reports on murder rape and other crimes. We live in a time of great danger. This is a fact. The country has no recourse but to tighten its grip in all areas - and unfortunately this has happened in relationship to our constitutional rights. Perhaps one day this will change. For the present, I would rather lose some of my rights than lose my life.

John A. Micklos

Baltimore

Renegade

The spectacle of a self-proclaimed victim protesting vociferously that he is being silenced would be ludicrous if it were not so tragic. Since Vatican II, thanks to the forbearance of the Catholic Church, the Rev. Richard McBrien [a priest at the University of Notre Dame] has enjoyed the freedom to join with dissident colleagues in undermining the Catholic faith with impunity.

Has the church no right or obligation to defend its teaching and the souls entrusted to its care? When will the time finally come for all dissident teachers and false prophets to be exposed?

Elizabeth N. Sullivan

Towson

A new 5 percent tax

It's about time we got a tax system that is good for all of our people: no more income taxes or any other federal, state, city or county taxes ` only one tax. Just charge a 5 percent tax on everything including food, medicine and all items we need every day. Exempt nothing.

Half of the money would go to the federal government, and the states could decide where the rest would go. The system would cut out all the paper work. It would be easy, simple and it would work. The people who spend most of the money will be paying most of the tax. Everyone will be spared a lot of time and trouble in April. Everyone would save. There would be surplus money to help every cause in our nation. Go for the 5 percent on everything, even hospital and doctor bills.

Michael L. Ruby

Baltimore

Integrity

The word "curmudgeon," defined as a "surly, ill-mannered, bad-tempered person, a cantankerous fellow," often reflects sincerity of character.

Albert Camus, the great Nobel Prize-winning novelist, hit the nail on the head with his observation that "there can be no question of holding forth on ethics. I have seen people behave badly with great morality and I note every day that integrity has no need of rules."

Sylvia Michaelson

Baltimore

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