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Letter to the Editor Against Drug Legalization in
Washington Times

Washington Times: Op-Ed LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
July 31, 2006

    Terry Michael's column ("Legalize drugs," Op-Ed, July 24) and three letters to the editor on Thursday all titled "Legalize drugs" try to make the point that the nation would be better off if it just legalized drugs. But that idea is dangerous and preposterous given the evidence we have today of the influence that mind-altering and addictive substances have in destroying children, families, schools and communities.
    Currently, drugs directly cause about 3,000 overdose deaths each month, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is the equivalent of the deaths on September 11 occurring every month year in and year out. Legalizing drugs would drive that horrific statistic much higher.
    Good examples of the actual harm drug legalization causes are found in cities such as Washington and Baltimore. Former Mayors Marion Barry (convicted on drug charges) and Kurt Schmoke (supported drug decriminalization), of D.C. and Baltimore respectively, both presided over cities which now boast among the highest levels of crime, drug addiction and overdose deaths in the entire nation.
    What the nation really needs is not legalization of drugs but legalization of universal health screening of children for drugs by the proven drug-prevention strategy of random student drug testing (RSDT) for therapeutic purposes only. As in the military services, business and government agencies that use random drug testing, schools that use RSDT also have virtually eliminated drug use.
    Legalizing mind-altering and addictive illegal drugs is dead wrong.
    

DEFOREST RATHBONE
Chairman
National Institute of
Citizen Anti-drug Policy
Great Falls, Va.