To the Editor:
John Tierney (“Debunking the Drug War,” column, Aug. 9) is right that “America has a serious drug problem.” The problem is so serious, however, that the danger of overdramatizing the potential of a methamphetamine epidemic is worth risking a loss in credibility and an accusation of crying wolf.
It’s not easy to spot the tipping point when drugs like methamphetamine, crack cocaine or heroin spread from a small minority of users to a larger population. But what we do know from studying the 1980’s crack epidemic is that once a drug is desirable, accessible and profitable, market forces of supply and demand take hold.
Law enforcement is one response. Forcing dealers out of business and making it harder to obtain the raw materials in methamphetamine production will limit the spread of use and save lives.
Likewise, the media can play a critical prevention role in demonstrating the devastation that this drug wreaks on individuals and communities.
The third essential strategy, though neglected, is treatment. Treatment does work; there’s no debunking that.
President, Odyssey House
New York, August 9, 2005