Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 27, 2003

Drug addiction is a real disease; treat it that way

I often read columns about addiction-related issues with a certain squint, just waiting for the distortion and misinformation to pop up. But Kurt L. Schmoke and Richard K. Willard's "It's time to change our addiction views" (Opinion Commentary, April 21) was timely and on target.

Addiction is a disease. People who are addicted are sick and need treatment. We discriminate against them in health care, employment and the criminal justice system.

Addiction is not a moral weakness. It is a complex illness that operates on many levels - medical, family, financial and spiritual.

On the same day, Kevin Cowherd's column "Booze makes some fans too wild for the game" (April 21) also highlighted an important drug abuse issue - incidents involving men who are drunk and obnoxious at the ballpark.

Mr. Cowherd laments that big-time sports will never rein-in big-time beer because of the enormous revenue from advertising. But this is an example of big-time denial. Alcohol is a drug, and we need to treat it that way. It should not be sold as if it were a soft drink, with no recognition of the negative consequences.

It's a strange world where one dangerous drug is singled out for a special status and the others are branded as evil.

Drug dependence and alcoholism are not moral problems. They are public health problems that respond to education, prevention and treatment. Let's treat them that way.

Robert White

Baltimore

The writer is director of behavioral health for the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Looting of museum isn't central story

The editorial "Blind eye to history"(April 20) hit a new low in The Sun's continuing Bush-bashing campaign. Blaming the Bush administration and, by implication, Gen. Tommy Franks for failing to prevent Iraqis from looting their National Museum is unconscionable.

To say that American soldiers and Marines failed to protect the museum because they were "otherwise engaged" is an insult to our service men and women, who were busy protecting their own lives and those of others, including Iraqis, while trying to secure a hostile area as Baghdad was falling.

The writer has no conception of the chaos that existed at that time - nor do any of us unless we were there.

Certainly the loss of the contents of the museum is a tragedy, but so is war, and bad things happen.

The editorial should have praised our armed forces for the quick success of their mission and for the precision bombing that saved most of the cultural and religious buildings, including the National Museum.

George D. Solter

Towson

Hussein's loot shows sanctions didn't bite

In light of all the cash that has been found in Saddam Hussein's lairs ("From the detritus, clues to character of Hussein regime," April 21), does anyone still claim that it was the U.S.-backed sanctions that hurt the Iraqi people?

Zev Griner

Reisterstown

A costly victory we will regret

Our Pyrrhic victory over Iraq is nothing to crow about.

At the cost of billions of dollars, untold human lives and the destruction of irreplaceable historic artifacts from the dawn of Western civilization, what has the United States gained?

We have found no weapons of mass destruction; many repressive regimes still exist; and, as Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak has suggested, we have probably created 100 more Osama bin Ladens.

Charles C. Worthington

Royal Oak

Right wing meddles with our private lives

In his remarks regarding homosexual activity, Sen. Rick Santorum lifted the veil from the face of conservative thinking. And it is not pretty ("Homosexuality remark draws fire for senator," April 23).

While proclaiming the importance of people living free of government interference, many conservatives would restrict the right to consensual sexual activity by consenting adults; restrict the right to use marijuana, even for medical reasons; block legal, safe abortions; and restrict stem cell research, even though it shows great promise in alleviating the suffering of millions.

For them, apparently, government intrusions are permissible when they conform to conservatives' values and are bad only when government is used to assist those among us who need the help.

Stanley L. Rodbell

Columbia

Contempt for privacy sets scary precedent

What I find scary, indeed threatening, about Sen. Rick Santorum's remarks is the fact that he said, "It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution" ("Excerpts from Santorum's remarks on gays," April 23).

This is not about who may be having relations with whom. The issue here is about the state legislating personal morality that takes place behind closed doors in any American household.

Would Mr. Santorum legislate all adult behaviors and use the police to enforce those laws? And would we then be opening the way for neighbors to turn in neighbors, family members to report relatives who may have offended them?

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