Legalization won't end our drug problemP. Pugh's letter...

the Forum

January 03, 1992

Legalization won't end our drug problem

P. Pugh's letter, "How we can win the war against drugs" (Dec. 20), correctly states that I recognize the drug problem in Maryland as a public health problem. However, the letter says we need to "get on with" dispensing of the "more harmful narcotic drugs" under medical auspices and the decriminalization of simple possession of marijuana. This could not be farther from my position on solving our drug abuse problems.

Legalization and decriminalization will only exacerbate the current problem. In decriminalizing and legalizing, government will be sending the wrong message to our younger generation, among whom, statistics show, we are making significant progress in reducing drug use. The "user pool" will grow and so will the attendant health problems. Health care costs are already draining the limited resources of the state; to allow drug use to increase would be self-defeating.

We must strive to change public attitudes regarding drug and alcohol abuse with increased efforts focused on education and prevention, coupled with adequate treatment. This problem developed over a long period of time and will not be resolved immediately. It is a problem we can resolve, but legalization and decriminalization are not the solutions.

Melvin A. Steinberg

The writer is Maryland lieutenant governor.

Out of touch

President Bush did not have to go to the bushes of Texas to hunt for quail. He found his Quayle already. He should look for and find some of the American people who really need finding and jobs!

Marty Friedman


Twisted symbol

The political cartoon in The Evening Sun (Dec. 27) pushed me into writing to protest the constant equating of the plight of Joseph and Mary with the plight of the homeless. Joseph was a prosperous carpenter, and he possibly could have afforded the best room in the inn if someone else hadn't gotten there first. And the innkeeper may have charged as much for the stable as he would have for a good room if it had been available.

Lem Hall


In the fast lane

Your front-page story of Dec. 20 refers to I-97 as "Maryland's autobahn," comparing it to its German cousin. Please, a little respect for the German autobahn.

During my first venture onto its race tracks, I settled into the slow lane at a pedestrian 95 mph to keep from being overrun by those who insist on the right to reach their destination at 150 mph ` only to see cars ahead of me in the slow lane pulling steadily away.

Germany has a clone of the American gun lobby (ADAC) that equates the right to drive in this fashion to freedom itself ` never mind the inevitable and justly famous backups of 50 miles and more, 20-car pile-ups, pollution, etc. The lobby likes to sneak in none-too-subtle reminders that only in Germany's socialist-controlled states and cities are there speed limits. Its motto is: "Free driving for free citizens." It might try another: "If speeding is outlawed, only outlaws would speed."

Harry Piotrowski


No progress

Please correct me if I am wrong, but as we slide into the year 1992 women do not have the "equal" rights they fought for for so many years.

Take a look at both local and national TV. Most of the

anchorwomen are blond and beautiful. Yet we have men who are bald or with unattractive beards. Some are even rotund.

Can you imagine a gray-haired, elderly, overweight lady doing the news, etc.?

I rest my case.

Rae Miller Heneson


: Poor suggestions

It would be very refreshing to receive once again in the mail a plea for funds from a major charity or organization that does not stipulate a "suggested" amount ` or series of increasing amounts ` to be donated.

Most people who have anything to do with family finances, budgets, etc., have a fair idea of how much they can afford to give just as they would about paying for food, housing and the like. In my opinion, suggesting a figure to be donated is arrogant and offensive, since a favor is being asked of the donor in the first place.

Joel W. Hutton


McLean's car

Taxpayers, remember not to re-elect Baltimore city comptroller Jacqueline McLean. One day after being sworn into office, she went out and purchased a new, $19,000 car.

I got my pink slip from the city after working 16 years. That $19,000 might have saved my job. Is McLean the watchdog she promised taxpayers she would be?

Helen Munro


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