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Debate Continues

On Drug

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I disagree with the editorial ''Legalization: No Answer,'' Feb. 8. By legalization, one does not mean tacit consent, for we must always do all we can to discourage, through education (not law enforcement), the use of hard drugs.

Drug use is a moral problem, best dealt with through the family, the church, and school. Police do not teach moral values; they enforce laws.

These very laws have caused our problems. Under them, we have created a powerful drug-sale and distribution system. Legalization would take the mystique out of drug use. Without profits, the distribution system would be destroyed, and drug use would decline.

Richard Zacher Oceanside, Calif.

The editorial was certainly appropriate and addresses major issues that confront all Americans today.

The US government spends millions of tax dollars promoting drug research by universities. Pharmaceutical companies, supported by medical faculties, promote the use of drugs in every aspect of human life. Drug use is advertised 24 hours a day on television and radio and in newspapers and magazines. This has made drugs a ''god'' in many American minds.

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Americans need to actively participate in debates with experts on the use and abuse of drugs. This could be done in ''town meetings'' via the Internet, TV, and radio. Only as the demand for drugs decreases will the social problems in US society begin to abate. Creating a criminal class and putting its members in jail is not the answer.

Donald Morritt Woodbourne, N.Y.

The editorial is an intelligent argument to redirect the tactics to stem drug use. But it misses the point of why we are fighting this ''war.''

Marijuana, opium, psychedelic mushrooms, and cocaine should be legal. Secular authorities are using the control of drugs as a means to appropriate power and money. Supporting the law enforcement and prison industries that pursue drugs and drug users is exacting a high cost on both our liberty and our pocketbooks. It should no longer be tolerated.

David P. Tomell Geneva, Ill.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and sent to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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