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June 10, 2010



To the editor:

While the arrival of a non-Draconian approach to drug use by the Obama administration is a welcome step forward, Office of National Drug Control Policy deputy director A. Thomas McLellan’s overt disdain for ideology will severely hamper the achievements that could accrue (May 27 University Times). Dr. McLellan proudly stated that ideology is not the foundation of the administration’s approach to drug use, when it is ideology that is desperately needed. Drug use is a personal, albeit irrational, choice. The government has no role except to prosecute those who sell drugs to minors or engage in behavior that places others at risk while intoxicated (e.g., operating an automobile). Paradoxically, the government’s prohibition of drugs has done nothing but abet organized crime and foment violence. Decriminalization is the surest step to stemming the ills associated with drug use. When is the last time you heard about drug issues from Portugal where drug use is largely legal? The ideology that Dr. McClellan should be seeking is the ideology that animated our founders — individual rights.

Amesh Adalja


Department of Critical Care Medicine


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