Legalizing drugs

Regarding the article ``Elders Sparks Debate on Legalization of Drugs,'' Dec. 13: Kudos to Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders as the only one in the Clinton administration who has the courage to recommend the only feasible solution to our drug-related crime problem - legalizing drugs.

Any economist will tell you that by outlawing drugs the government has created a monopoly for crime wherein the profits are so high that it pays to expend tremendous efforts to get people addicted (sales efforts) and to protect one's territory (violent crime), regardless of the possible cost of incarceration.

Does anyone remember Prohibition and crime and what happened when the law was repealed? Does anyone remember the number of rackets and illegal gambling casinos? Where is the excessive violent crime related to the illegal sale of alcohol and gambling now? This is not to say that we should encourage drug use. Rather, we should treat drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes as social problems, and help people by removing the conditions that push them toward these substances as solutions to their problems. Richard E. Weber, West Long Branch, N.J.

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