Schmoke and the Drug ApologistsRe: the International...

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November 27, 1993

Schmoke and the Drug Apologists

Re: the International Cities Conference hosted by Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and the Drug Policy Foundation, a drug apologist group.

It is astonishing that Mayor Schmoke has aligned himself with the drug culture and a small group of elitists and Ivy League intelligentsia (who love social experimentation without regard to the cost in dollars or human tragedy) who promote legalization of an unhealthy, illegal lifestyle. What odd bedfellows!

How disturbing that Mayor Schmoke would accept a $100,000 award from these deep pockets miscreants who, if they succeed, would bring a plague upon our nation that would decimate the inner city and gravely wound our suburban population.

They simply refuse to learn from the experiences of England and Switzerland, which have tried decriminalization/legalization and paid a dear price (use increased by multiples, as did crime rates and health consequences/costs) for the adventure.

Switzerland is taking a second run at harm reduction, and the Netherlands have informally decriminalized hashish. In a few years, we'll have two more spectacular failures to provide us with the evidence that all drug use outside of legitimate medical use is, in fact, abuse.

The pseudo public health/responsible use/harm reduction alternative is simply a recipe for a national disaster.

In 1989, a study was conducted at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services in Baltimore during which all patients received with major trauma injuries were tested for detectable levels of marijuana in their blood. Of the 1,023 patients received during the specified time frame, 34 percent tested positive for marijuana.

In 1987, a train crash that occurred in Chase, Md., was caused by an engineer who was under the influence of marijuana at the time. That careless act cost 16 people their lives, injured 175 others and caused $17 million in property damage.

A recent study conducted by juvenile justice authorities in Washington revealed that 42 percent of the juveniles arrested tested positive for the presence of marijuana (up from 13 percent the previous year).

Their conclusion is that there appears to be a correlation between marijuana use and the arrestees' criminal activity. It has been proven that marijuana can cause low birth weights and developmental problems in infants born to users.

Some scientists believe that, when all the science is in, it will be proven that there is a Fetal Marijuana Syndrome and Effect, similar to that of alcohol.

Yet, Mayor Schmoke and his band of users, elitists and theorists advocate making this dreadful, toxic substance legally available and, thus, more easily accessible and acceptable.

What toll in human tragedy must accrue before they deem their (( drug of choice unacceptable?

The increase in drug use that would accompany decriminalization/legalization would cause a dramatic rise in health damage and the associated health costs (currently estimated to be 25 percent or over $200 billion of the total current health expenditures).

Expanded drug use would result in a decrease in the quality of life, e.g., increased random and family violence committed by persons on drugs, accidents caused by drug-impaired drivers/equipment operators, loss of productivity and increased related costs by workers, higher infant mortality and drug-damaged children to care for and to try to educate.

The never-to-be-realized mental and physical potential of young

and future generations is simply a price too dear to pay for surrender.

The drug culture seeks to confuse, divide and, thus, conquer the straight society. We must act to stop this schizophrenic behavior and work to break the cycle of use, damage and addiction.

We need to commit ourselves to expend as much money, time and effort on prevention and treatment as we do on law enforcement.

When we mount such a three-pronged attack with the full support of the family, schools, community, churches, employers, health care providers and all levels and agencies of government, then we will make the inroads and strides necessary to excise the cancer of drug use from our society.

Wayne J. Roques

Miami

The writer is demand reduction coordinator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division.

Meat Eaters, Unite!

Just as your readers are informed about the source of this letter, so should they be informed about the source of the anti-meat claims in an Oct. 22 letter from Alex Hershaft.

Mr. Hershaft heads a radical animal-rights group that is totally outside the mainstream of nutrition science as well as animal science.

Unable to persuade many people to accept his no-animal-product diets, he resorts to false claims about meat's healthfulness as well as its production methods.

We suggest that Mr. Hershaft look no further than the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to see that the nation's real health experts continue to recognize the positive role of lean, trimmed, nutrient-dense beef and other meats in healthful diets.

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