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Letter to the Editor: Treating Drug Use, Urban and Rural

To the editor:

“As Drug Use Drops in Big Cities, Small Towns Confront Upsurge” (front page, Feb. 11) clearly tells America that drug abuse is a great equalizer. It does not segregate by class, race or geography. Cities, small towns and rural areas face similar challenges of keeping youngsters engaged in education and healthy pursuits and away from drug dealers.

One important difference is that urban communities have greater access to treatment. While we can sympathize with the hard-pressed, rural police departments trying to control illegal drug activity, arrests cannot be the only strategy.

In many cities, including New York, treatment providers and law enforcement agencies have created partnerships so drug dealers arrested for nonviolent offenses are offered treatment instead of jail.

Peter Provet
President, Odyssey House
New York, Feb. 12, 2002

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