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Increase in Teen Drug Use

* Re “Teen Drug Use Has Doubled in 4 Years, U.S. Says,” Aug. 21:

It seems as though Bob Dole hasn’t met an issue he can’t blame someone for. At the Republican infomercial in San Diego, he was criticizing the need for a “village” (i.e., community), stating that “what we need is family.” Now he is refusing to give families credit and responsibility for raising their children by stating that it is the responsibility of government and President Clinton when kids use drugs. You can’t have it both ways, senator.

I believe we are stumbling around an issue that no one wants to talk about, and that is, many of us used marijuana, alcohol, etc., in our younger years, and we have trouble figuring out why our kids do the same thing. If we as parents can’t sort it out, how can the government do it? Even the Republican poster child, Rep. Susan Molinari, admitted to smoking marijuana. When her child grows up she will have to confront the issue also. The politics of blame go on and on.

IRENE C. BRIGGS

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Huntington Beach

* Re “Drugs and Political Smoke,” editorial, Aug. 22:

Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) has had to restore funding for President Clinton’s cuts. In fact, funding for drug treatment was the only thing going up in the budgets submitted by Clinton (up 21.5% since 1992)--until his election-year conversion. Funny thing is, treatment “slots” actually decreased by 1% under Clinton, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Why don’t you mention Clinton cutting the White House drug office by 80%? Or destroying drug interdiction efforts (two 1996 GAO reports criticize Clinton’s heroin and Caribbean policies)? This isn’t a partisan issue--both Democrats and Republicans agree: Clinton has been a disaster.

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A Clinton who takes credit for economic growth that began in 1991 should be held accountable for growing narcotic abuse that took off in 1992.

MATTHEW ROBINSON

Manhattan Beach

* It’ll be a tough sell to convince many people that the utter lack of moral authority President Clinton suffers from in this arena isn’t a major contributing factor to this problem. Unlike his predecessors, Clinton cannot speak to this issue without sounding hypocritical.

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This relative silence, and lack of moral authority, isn’t lost on young people, for whom there are few things more likely to inspire derision and distrust than perceived hypocrisy. By no means do I attribute this problem solely to the president. But I feel his share of the responsibility cannot be ignored.

FRANK LOWTHER JR.

Los Angeles


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