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For legalizing drugs

DeForest Rathbone may have the best of intentions with regard to our drug policy amidst the distortions in his letter “Don’t legalize dope,” (Monday). He surely must be aware that the CDC figures cited are not for illegal drugs — they are for all legal prescription and over the counter drugs, including alcohol, and for illegal drugs, which makeup only a small percentage of the overall number. And he must know that marijuana kills no one. And he must also be aware that the District and Baltimore have never had drug legalization, whether under the former mayors he cited or under the current ones. If he wants to debate the issue, why resort to such outrageous mis-statement and demagoguery? Just say what you believe, that you have no problem throwing adults in prison for their personal choices.

TERRY MICHAEL

Executive Director

Washington Center for

Politics & Journalism

The Politics & Journalism Semester

Washington

DeForest Rathbone’s Monday letter to the editor, “Don’t legalize dope,” responded to the issue of legalizing drugs. First, the concept really is ending prohibition or decriminalizing certain chemicals; the other wording has the unfortunate connotation that things start out illegal and must be made legal.

Mr. Rathbone asserts that there is evidence that mind-altering and addictive substances have destroyed children, families, schools and communities, and he cites the statistic of 3,000 overdose deaths each month. The evidence is that the small numbers of people who seek and use recreational drugs do so either to recreate or to medicate, not to overdose. (This is not about suicide; people who commit suicide with such substances have many other choices, and, obviously, making these choices illegal didn’t stop them.) The evidence is that overdosing is caused by the unreliability of the product being used.

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