Drug treatment can work, but only when it's well-funded...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 30, 2000

Drug treatment can work, but only when it's well-funded

As a director of a publicly funded substance abuse program in Baltimore, I am intimately aware of the impact that inadequate state funds will have on the city ("Governor faulted on drug rehab program," April 21).

Although our program has more clients than the city funds and the city is closely monitoring our clinical outcomes, on April 20 we were instructed to stop taking new admissions.

In a city that knows all too well the devastating impact of substance abuse and with so many men and women desperate for successful intervention, we must begin to turn away clients who are ready to commit themselves to treatment.

This despite the fact that the clinic has documented a 94 percent reduction in clients' criminal activity within the first 30 days of treatment.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening may be annoyed by city health commissioner Peter Beilenson's appeal for more funding, and angry with the messenger who tells the unfortunate truth, but Mr. Glendening can't escape the fact that treatment which works is costly and long-term.

There are no quick fixes for a chronic, insidious illness which can persist despite an individual's best intentions.

We wholeheartedly agree with the governor that all programs funded by the state should be monitored closely, both in terms of clinical outcomes and efficient expenditure of money.

But on behalf of our clients and our community, we implore the governor not to disrupt unnecessarily the programs on which so many have come to rely.

Moira U. Bogrov, Baltimore

The writer is program director for the University of Maryland Medical System's alcohol and drug abuse program.

To earn more funding, treatment must show it works

The criticism of the governor for only giving Baltimore's drug rehabilitation program $8 million of the $25 million it requested is so far off-base that it provokes suspicion the program is already looking for a scapegoat for failure ("Governor faulted on drug rehab funding," April 21).

Surely, the city admits the governor shares the goal of fixing the drug problem. Good intentions, however, do not produce an effective program.

Let the city show it has an effective program, and more funding will follow.

Tom Rafferty,Crownsville

Don't just call for action, but offer a proposal

I found the editorial "On TV and in reality, Baltimore looks bad," (April 19) vapid and empty. Its arguments were clear, but the conclusion was hollow and pointless.

The Sun wrote, "We can't erase those images until we decide the battle for our streets is something in which we all must play a crucial part."

As a Baltimore resident, I am stupefied as to what I am not doing or, rather, should be doing.

Please stop with the empty rhetoric and make a sound proposal which I may, or may not, support.

Bill Newhall, Baltimore

Offering a cyber-trail to better equip criminals?

Does anyone at The Sun see the stupidity and irony of running an article decrying the prevalence of body armor among the city's criminals while providing the Website address for a catalog where the same body armor could be ordered ("Body armor troubles police" April 25)?

The source documentation for the diagram with the article that showed how body armor works included the Web address of a catalog the armor can be ordered with a few clicks of a mouse.

I wonder how police feel when the city's only daily paper gives criminals an easy cyber-trail to better equip themselves?

If I were a police officer, I'd be furious. Where is The Sun's common sense?

Charles Rose, Baltimore

Twisted trees, power lines are an overhead blight

Although the gumption of BGE's tree-trimming force is truly admirable, we have all seen the twisted, tortured shapes of supposed trees left in their wake ("Pruning isn't always pretty," April 18).

BGE delivers wonderful utilities, but less-than-wonderful trees. We deserve better than 9,400 miles of overhead lines and gaping trees.

Let's spend part of the money that BGE consumers are paying each year on the upkeep of power lines to bury utility lines instead of contributing to the full employment of out-of state tree crews.

Then we could admire natural tree growth and even have reliable utilities protected from branches and ice storms.

Other states started programs to do this long ago.

J. Shattuck, Sparks

Boats have no protection against warrant-less searches

The Sun's article "Entry by force puts focus on 4th Amendment" (April 23) pointed out that citizens cannot expect Fourth Amendment protection against search and seizure when Immigrations and Naturalization Service agents are enforcing Immigration laws.

Most readers will never find themselves receiving such a search.

However readers who own boats should realize that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to their vessels.

Coast Guard personnel, who may be as armed to the teeth as the agents who rescued Elian Gonzalez, have every right to board your boat without permission.

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