RE CHRISTINE Flowers' March 27 op-ed opposing legalizing drugs:

The piece starts with a false construct. No one credible is talking about legalizing all drugs in response to Mexico's drug war or our economic crisis - just marijuana. The op-ed conflates marijuana, which has never killed anyone and is non-addictive, to truly dangerous drugs.

Flowers apparently rejects the concept of dealing rationally with a controversial issue, as if wild-eyed hysteria leads to effective solutions.

Flowers also says that the marijuana pill, known as Marinol, is just as medically effective as smoking the stuff.

This claim ignores easily obtained research. The truth? Several state studies, conducted in New Mexico, California, Michigan, Tennessee, New York, and Georgia, found that smoking marijuana is more effective than Marinol. You can read it yourself: www.medmjscience.org/Pages/science/zeesestates.html.

She also claims that U.S. drug laws prevent people from using drugs, a claim belied by simply walking through any Philadelphia neighborhood. The reality is that in 1980, only 41,000 drug users were in prison. Today, that number is 500,000, an increase of 1,200 percent. This is prevention?

Here in Philly, the mayor is considering releasing nonviolent offenders from prison. I participated in two of the budget forums, and that was a proposal heartily embraced by Philadelphians. Our neighbors in New Jersey are considering legalizing medical marijuana, and state Rep. Mark Cohen has introduced a bill to accomplish the same here in Pennsylvania. Thirteen states have decriminalized marijuana, and California is considering legalizing it outright.

It's one thing to oppose these initiatives on their merits, but Flowers only offers discredited myths, junk science and red herrings to make her case.

Brendan Skwire

Philadelphia