Don't distribute disease


make city drug-freeYour paper...

February 27, 1996

Don't distribute disease; make city drug-free

Your paper reported that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke has dispatched aides to study the situation in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where drugs are made available to users free of charge.

As a social worker with many years of experience working with drug addicts and their families, I would argue against free drug distribution in Baltimore.

While this plan would decrease the profit margin and possibly reduce crime, it might well increase usage. The devastating effects of drug usage would remain.

Drug addiction is akin to a progressive, debilitating disease. Long-time users evidence an array of symptomatology including impaired judgment and heightened irritability or psychoses such as major depression.

As the user craves higher doses at more frequent intervals, the user becomes less able to care for self or family, financially, emotionally or otherwise.

The user then turns to our already overburdened social, welfare and medical facilities for total care. Let us not assist our citizens in self-destruction. Let's make Baltimore a drug-free city, not a druggy city.

Lila Lowell


How about this name?

In view of the deal Maryland had to give to lure an NFL team here, there is only one appropriate new name. I hereby suggest "Free loaders."

Henry Seim


Daniel Henson would benefit

Would someone please show Daniel Henson a copy of the Feb. 18 Perspective article by Liz Atwood. I understand he doesn't read The Sun any more.

A quote from Dutch Ruppersberger reads, "A lot of the solution is attitude. That starts with me."

I think Mr. Henson could learn a lot from those words.

Les Kurts


Who monitors quality in prescription plans?

The recent cancellation of the state government's contract with Medco Containment Services brings one striking thought to mind: Health insurance companies that offer prescription plans are actually pharmacy health care providers.

For a given premium, a health insurance company offers a specified level of care that a patient may receive from certain pharmacies.

Health insurance companies also perform drug-use reviews to insure that patients take their medicines properly.

By monitoring patients and offering a specified level of pharmacy care, insurance companies that offer prescription programs are pharmacy health care providers. If that is the case then shouldn't health insurance companies be licensed and regulated by the Maryland State Board of Pharmacy?

The Board of Pharmacy is held responsible for insuring that quality pharmacy health care is provided to the Maryland public through pharmacies and pharmacists who are licensed pharmacy health care providers.

Shouldn't health insurance companies be regulated by the Maryland Board of Pharmacy also?

Todd Howard Stephens


Multiple efforts improve Sandtown

Columnist Antero Pietila is right to caution that the neighborhood transformation process in Sandtown-Winchester should heed the main lesson of past redevelopment efforts: Jobs and economic development must underpin the process. Building housing and hoping for the best is not enough.

In Sandtown-Winchester, the construction of the new Nehemiah homes and renovation of the vacant housing are the most visible activities, but they are only one of many facets of work under way.

Housing is a physical lever to involve residents, government and other actors in a comprehensive effort to transform all the systems that affect daily life in the neighborhood -- from education, health and human services to public safety and economic development. And important progress is being made in helping those who need jobs prepare for and secure employment.

Through various programs, nearly 200 adults have been trained or found work in construction and other trades.

Another 250 residents are working in "community improvement jobs" as health outreach workers, family and youth counselors, maintenance workers, writers for the community newspaper and other positions.

As a model for other neighborhood employers, Future Care has hired and trained 100 neighborhood residents to fill positions in the Sandtown-Winchester Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Nearly 90 out-of-school youths have been trained in construction while completing their high school education. While many are hoping to work in construction, some are going on to college.

A church-based program called Eden Jobs has helped place 140 unemployed residents in jobs since starting up in 1994.

Unfortunately, this activity is not as easy to see as the new homes -- or those that are still vacant and abandoned. Yet additional efforts are in motion to create more jobs and help residents fill them:

Lafayette Market has been turned over to a private corporation for redevelopment and management as the new Avenue Market, which will offer first-quality foods and merchandise competitive with the best city markets. Neighborhood residents will have an opportunity to start their own businesses through a special merchant development program.

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