Fight Drugs, Decriminalize Drugs, or Rehabilitate Drug Users?

The prison-population data given in the article ``Drug Crisis Burdens Prison System,'' Nov. 6, raise questions about the drug war with its mention of the urgent need for more prison beds. The problem isn't so much how many resources we put into the prison system, but that the escalating demand for more prison resources will sink us. For example, in 1986 Georgia spent approximately $17,000 per inmate in its prison system. The article makes it clear that even at that price, Georgia has neither the bed capacity nor the resources to provide for rehabilitation.

Georgia predicts about a 150 percent increase in the prison population in the next decade. That prediction suggests to me that that state's efforts will not be sufficient to end the drug problem there.

What if Georgia's predictions are on target? What if other states anticipate a similar future in their drug war? If we continue as we are, or move to decriminalize drugs, we will lose in our efforts against drugs.

This leaves us with demand. The ratio of dollars devoted to the drug war is high on interdiction and low on prevention and rehabilitation of drug users. We should be adding resources and directing public policy toward the demand side. Otherwise, we may become a nation of prisons whose architectural mainstays are large revolving doors. Jo Ann Myers, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

UN education efforts The editorial ``Global Back-to-Basics,'' Nov. 14, states that ``the United Nations has climbed on the already much-loaded education bandwagon.''

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in fact started the ``bandwagon'' by alerting the world to basic problems in education. Its regional conferences, beginning at the end of the 1950s, started a re-thinking process. At the end of the 1960s, UNESCO launched an experimental world literacy program. In 1972, the UNESCO International Commission on Education issued a landmark report, ``Learning to Be.'' This report has been translated into more than 30 languages.

In referring to a 1990 UN conference, ``Education for All,'' this editorial fails to report that the meeting - and the follow-up programs of the 1990s - involves the collaboration of UNESCO, the World Bank, the UN Children's Fund, and the UN Development Program.

UNESCO professionals have been listening to what is happening to education all over the world. John Fobes, Asheville, N.C., Former Chair US National Commission for UNESCO

Correction In the editorial ``Curb Serbian Nationalism,'' Dec. 5, the Monitor referred to Slobodan Milosevic as the president of Yugoslavia. This is incorrect. Mr. Milosevic is president of the Serbian Republic.

The presidents of the various Yugoslav republics rotate into the presidency of the Yugoslavia. Janez Drnovsek, president of the Slovenian Republic, is the current president of Yugoslavia.

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