THE WAR ON DRUGS

Stan Yarbro's story on Colombia offered a preview of what we can expect if we do not adopt tactics that can win the drug war ("River of Death," Sept. 13). If civil authorities cannot clean up our neighborhoods, citizen vigilantes will attempt to do so, and the result will be a widespread epidemic of unsolved murders.

The first step toward improvement will come when civil authority is allowed to distinguish levels of danger among the various illegal drugs. The public must be educated that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, that crack is no worse than alcohol and that if drugs were to be decriminalized, addiction would become a personal, not a public, problem.

REXFORD STYZENS

Long Beach

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