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May 03, 2007|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun reporter

Mayor says treatment is best Mayor Sheila Dixon yesterday declined to say whether she supports decriminalizing the use of illegal drugs after being asked three times about her views on the topic at a news conference.

"Drug addiction is a health issue, and drug treatment and providing support services to families is so significant and key," she said in response to a question from a television reporter. "That is where you break the cycles."

Police say that much of the city's violence is fueled by the drug trade in Baltimore, and some believe that decriminalizing drug use would drastically reduce killings and shootings because crews would no longer fight over territory and money.

In 1988, former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke created a national stir when, during his first year in office, he advocated the decriminalization of illegal drugs. He was re-elected twice.

Yesterday, when Dixon was pressed to clarify her views, she said: "I already made my point. Provide people the resources they need."

A third reporter followed up, and again asking whether Dixon supports decriminalizing drugs.

"I understood the question," Dixon said. "For those individuals who are drug addicted, services are needed to treat and deal with the families so this cycle can be treated."

Anthony McCarthy, Dixon's spokesman, later noted that as mayor, Dixon does not have a role in passing state and federal drug laws.

City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell, a candidate for mayor in this fall's election, declined to comment yesterday.

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

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