Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Schaler, J.A. (1993, Dec. 14). Who's 'Sick'? What's the 'Disease'?
The Washington Post, Letters to the Editor, p. A24.

National Drug Control Policy Director Lee Brown says the "drug court ... uses the authority of the criminal justice system to get people who are first-time offenders for possession of drugs into a treatment program, and it keeps them there through the treatment process," [For the Record, Dec. 3]. Mr. Brown apparently considers possession of drugs a treatable disease.

He then describes a program called Focus Hope in Detroit, "where they're taking inner-city youth who may have had substance-abuse problems and providing them training for real jobs." He claims that substance-abuse problems are really unemployment problems that can be "treated" with jobs.

According to Mr. Brown, this "stick [criminal justice system] and carrot [treatment]" approach "gives us real reason to be hopeful that we're going to get a handle on this drug problem," which he then calls "this problem of senseless violence in America."

To top it off, the photo caption on the front page of the next day's Post describes how thousands of Colombians gathered in Medellin for the wake of cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar to praise his gifts to the poor and his defiance of U.S. anti-drug efforts! Does Lee Brown think these thousands of Colombians are "sick" and in need of "treatment"? Is killing Pablo Escobar "medicine" for their "disease"?

According to Mr. Brown, treatment is punishment, jobs are medicine and violence is disease. Is this President Clinton's idea of health care reform? George Orwell called this doublespeak.

Silver Spring