LEGALIZED DRUGS: LET'S NOT OPEN THAT CAN OF WORMS
Congratulations to Gary Becker on receiving the Nobel prize in economics. I do not feel, however, that he has a sound theory on the drug problem--namely, that drugs should be gradually legalized. "This might increase drug use," Becker says. "But legalizing drugs would reduce crime and free police for more serious activities" ("An economist for the common man," Top of the News, Oct. 26).
When prohibition was abolished, one group of activities that was alcohol related was substituted for a new group of alcohol-related activities. Now, law-enforcement officers handle an enormous number of calls for services--family, neighbor, and business disputes, assaults, and thefts--that in some way involve the consumption of legalized alcohol or are the result of overconsumption of legalized alcohol.
With this in mind, one can presume that these same crimes and problems will most likely exist if illicit drugs are legalized. And if society makes it too easy to purchase drugs, we will only get an increase in drug-related crimes. Our streets are dangerous enough without having legal "under the influence" persons roaming about.
Daryl H. Meeks
Los Angeles County Sheriff Dept.