Treatment works: Results lend urgency to funding...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 13, 2002

Treatment works: Results lend urgency to funding proposal

It's important to finally have solid, local data that proves addiction treatment works ("Baltimore drug programs prove effective, study finds," Jan. 31).

While people in recovery, advocates and professionals in the field have been saying this for many years, only recently has our community come together in agreement that treatment for this disease is an effective and wise investment.

Part of the reason for this is the work of the Maryland Drug Treatment Task Force, created through the efforts of Del. Daniel K. Morhaim and Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, and led by Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

This task force studied alcohol and drug addiction for two years and concluded that much more money needs to be invested in treatment statewide. And this is the third year in a row that Gov. Parris N. Glendening has allocated a significant amount of money for treatment.

The legislature will soon decide if funding for treatment should be increased by $15 million this year, with $9 million of that money earmarked for Baltimore.

We encourage our leaders to retain these funds, especially in light of the overwhelming data proving such spending is the right thing to do.

Paula K. Minsk

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Don't link terrorist threat to the failed war on drugs

The nation's drug warriors have seen their resources cut back since America refocused on the war on terrorism. And recently they have been trying to link the war on drugs to the war on terrorism in a rather blatant attempt to regain funding.

Even in this context, however, who would imagine that they could sink so low as to spend millions on two Super Bowl anti-drug ads that essentially accused drug users of financing terrorism?

It is true that some portion of drug sales generate profits that terrorists use to finance violence. Nevertheless, drug trafficking is just one of the many businesses, legal and illegal, that terrorists use to finance their operations.

The war on drugs is an abject failure, and the reason is clear: As long as Americans remain addicted to drugs and will do whatever it takes to pay for them, profits from illegal drug sales will overwhelm any money spent on enforcement.

In any case, it's shameful for the government to buy the most expensive airtime possible for spots designed to link the popular, necessary war on terrorism with the unpopular, failed war on drugs.

Peter Fitton

Baltimore

Assembly should examine CareFirst merger closely

The CareFirst proposal to sell out to an out-of-state, for-profit company causes me great concern ("CareFirst proposal draws cool response," Feb. 5).

Maryland has a long and proud history of nonprofit health care institutions. I know because I was once chairman of Franklin Square Hospital and later of Helix Health. Our boards served pro bono as a public service. There was a day when the board of Blue Cross Blue Shield also served without pay, but that great tradition now seems to be forgotten.

If I were in the General Assembly, where I served 50 years ago, I would ask about director payments, stock options, golden parachutes and other issues.

Just who is being served: the public or the CareFirst executives?

Daniel B. Brewster

Glyndon

Townsend squanders her family's legacy

Michael Olesker's comparison of Mayor Martin O'Malley to one of the Kennedy brothers was brilliant ("Townsend's strategy: a sisterly patience," Feb. 3). He is young, brash and speaks out against injustice wherever he sees it.

Ironically, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has behaved like anything but a Kennedy. During her eight years as lieutenant governor, she has refused to take a stand on all but the safest issues.

Those of us who have sought her help in community matters have been rebuffed by her silence and indecision.

Ms. Townsend may indeed be elected [governor] on the strength of her family name. But in most respects it is a legacy she has squandered.

John Patterson

Towson

What became of Bush pledge to curtail partisanship?

As suggested by the title of Jules Witcover's column "Unity bites dust with busted budget" (Opinion * Commentary, Feb 6), it is clear that partisanship again reigns supreme in Congress.

So the obvious question is: Was it simply hollow rhetoric or incredible political naivetM-i that caused candidate George W. Bush to announce during the presidential campaign that he was the one who would bring both sides together in Washington?

Dave Goldsmith

Baltimore

Crown Corp. controversy nothing like Enron scandal

As reported in The Sun, Crown Central Petroleum Corp. has been sued by two former stockholders who allege a violation of the proxy rules and a breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the merger last March that resulted in Crown becoming a private company ("Crown and Rosenberg accused in class action," Jan. 25).

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