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Drug war fugit

THE great American drug crisis of last summer was seized upon by two groups: politicians desperate for an issue during an issueless campaign, and media in search of something to fill their newscasts and columns during the summer-slow news season. At least that is the impression one gets from the amount of serious action subsequently taken.

President Reagan was heartily applauded when he signed a $3.9 billion antidrug bill and proclaimed ``the total commitment of the American people and their government to fight the evils of drugs.''

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For fiscal 1988, however, the administration has proposed cutting funding for fighting drugs by $913 million. Grants to help state and local authorities enforce drug laws are to be eliminated, and funding for drug education and treatment is to be trimmed.

The current $3 billion proposed appropriation is still - to be fair - well above what the federal government was spending to fight drugs before the last year's omnibus antidrug bill was passed.

But the proposed cutbacks, and the relative indifference with which they have been greeted, are a telling index of the national attention span.

The country's political and social leaders need to do better.

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