Heroin maintenance: A solution for drugs or surrender to...

Letters to the Editor

June 15, 1998

Heroin maintenance: A solution for drugs or surrender to 0) them?

Bravo to Dr. Peter Beilenson, the Johns Hopkins University and George Soros. I have advocated this approach for 20 years ("Test of 'heroin maintenance' may be launched in Baltimore," June 10). I believe it will cause a statistically significant decrease in crime.

There is a segment of the heroin population whose only goal is the next "fix." And to achieve that end, nothing is sacred. From begging to petty theft to murder, there is nothing these addicts will not do to satisfy their uncontrollable need.

Dr. Beilenson is correct when he states "it will be politically difficult." If this program is not allowed to be tested, it will be the politicians who scuttle it.

The medical community should embrace the program if research protocols are established.

Reaction from the clergy should be positive because the masses will be spared the evil of crime and the pain, and torment of the addicts will be relieved.

Action must be swift to rally those in power to give this a try.

Phillip Paul Weiner

Pikesville

What an outrage! If thieves and prostitutes are entitled to free drugs, the rest of us law-abiding citizens should be allowed to buy our alcohol and tobacco tax free.

C. D. Wilmer

Baltimore

There are reasons residents view drug dealer favorably

Though I agree that no one should sell illegal substances, I understand why neighbors in a convicted drug dealer's neighborhood still respect him ("On E. Oliver St., drug lord is seen in a different light," June 11).

We should not judge a person unless we have walked in his shoes. Society tends to believe that African-Americans sell drugs solely for money. What people fail to realize is what money is used for. It is used to pay for the bare necessities that many of us take for granted -- food, clothing, shelter and utilities.

It is unfortunate that many of our youth follow that pattern or lifestyle. But we cannot say that this is the result of single-family homes.

Most of the time the mother is the role model because children see her trying her best to hold down the fort.

I disagree with how Anthony Jones made his money, but I respect his integrity for trying to do the right things out of a wrong situation.

Kassandra Campbell

Baltimore

In "New Jack City," a movie about the drug trade, one of the characters, a drug dealer, gave "his" community turkeys and other food on holidays, much to the disgust of law-abiding residents.

This scene was replayed by the statement of the Rev. Melvin B. Tuggle II, when he commented on convicted kingpin Anthony Jones: "The answer is still the church," he was quoted as saying.

If the church is still the answer, the question is: Why Anthony Jones?

When people of limited means are supplied food and/or finances, the donor is cast in a positive light, even if he is a drug dealer.

To counteract evil influences, churches have to fight the enemy using his methods. Congregations need to feed the body as well as the soul and be available whenever needed to help the needy. Anything less than total commitment gives the enemy the advantage.

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

Intersection of patriotism, freedom without a collision

Patriotism is a major component of my life's blood but a flicker of agreement crossed my mind when I read of MaryKait Durkee's refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and Gregory Kane's comments on it ("Why can't anyone disagree if this is Land of the Free?" June 6).

It is hard to shake the growing perception that "liberty and justice for all" has degenerated to liberty and justice for special interests and big money.

Mr. Kane is a master wordsmith, a remarkably clear thinker, and The Sun's redeeming feature. He also gets top marks as a role model of moral courage.

His line: "She called her elders on it and, lo and behold, found them lacking in their commitment to liberty" is a gem. Pressure groups who use words such as tolerance, compassion, kindness and love to silence opposition are often devoid of these virtues.

Of course, MaryKait Durkee can remain silent, but she cannot force others to. The pledge should be said in schools and meetings; we don't really need another vacuum. The pledge is to the idea of America, unique in this world, not the imperfect realization of that idea.

It is not a pledge to a dictator or a despot as Mr. Kane suggests.

#Elizabeth Ward Nottrodt

Baltimore

Teacher was irresponsible in not following court order

I was surprised and disappointed with the statement by Curtis Lee Jones as quoted in "Arrested teacher fired for failing to pass required test" (June 9).

Mr. Jones said he "took it for granted" that the court would have warned him about failing to submit a report that he was ordered to write as a condition of his probation.

Why should he, or anyone else for that matter, be given a warning about doing an assignment that was ordered by the court?

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