Letters to the Editor

Reefer madness perpetuates lies

To the editor:
        Altoona chief of police John L. Gray makes some sense ("Juvenile drug cases increasing" July 30).  I, too, believe that education is our best weapon in the war against drug abuse.  Judging by Chief Gray's report on the recent increase in juvenile drug cases, strict enforcement of our drug laws hasn't worked.
        Education can work, but only if it's truthful and based on common sense.  It doesn't make sense to pursue strict enforcement with a substance that does relatively little harm, like marijuana, while a substance like alcohol, which Chief Gray correctly identifies as a major cause of death on our highways, is sold in grocery stores.
        Under the theory that strict enforcement of drug laws will solve the problem, we'd be much better off if marijuana were legal and alcohol were illegal.  Of course, we tried that once and it didn't work.   Judging by the news reports I've seen, juveniles aren't very impressed with the recent crackdown on cigarettes either.
        What we need is education that emphasizes self-respect.  Using threats is the least effective method of accomplishing our goals.  Let's hope that millions of dollars don't get wasted on an educational program that perpetuates the same lies we've been hearing since "Reefer Madness" first began.

Carl E. Olsen
Des Moines

The Altoona Herald - Mitchellville Index
Thursday, August 6, 1998, Page 4A
Post Office Box 427
Altoona, Iowa 50009
Phone 515-967-4224
Fax 515-967-0553