Overuse of pills is responsible for drug...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Overuse of pills is responsible for drug plague

If anyone wonders who is to blame for our nation's drug problems, we can point the finger at ourselves.

Thanks to advertising, we have become obsessively alert to the slightest twinge and tic in our bodies.

If we have a headache, we take a pill. Backache? Take a drug. Can't fall instantly asleep? Take a drug. Feeling depressed? Take a drug. Overweight? Take a drug.

When a kid can't sit still in school or doesn't pay attention to what we're telling him, put him on drugs. Never mind that children were never intended to sit in a chair all day.

At the other end of the scale, every elderly person I know puts away a fist full of pills daily.

I was taught that the reason the human race has survived this long is that we have always been able to adapt to different climates, diets and all sorts of physical changes.

Maybe we should stop trying to feel perfect every minute of the day and night.

Michael Kernan

Baltimore

Expensive nail

Gosh, I'm glad I caught your editorial on Aug. 27. I've been wondering why the crime bill was passed. I've heard lots of excuses but no reasons, and there it was, right there in your editorial.

I knew the assault weapons ban was just an excuse, because assault weapons are statistically irrelevant to the crime picture; 100,000 police is also an excuse, because if the cities and states had the matching funds, the police would already be on the streets.

The social programs are also just an excuse. A few more billion on top of the trillions we've already spent on social programs in the Great Society would be invisible.

Also, you clearly pointed out that the death penalties are just an excuse.

But there it was, in the fifth paragraph, the real reason, the genuine reason for the crime bill.

We have just spent $30 billion to drive another nail in the National Rifle Association's coffin. I wonder how many more nails we can afford?

John Cullom

Catonsville

City contrasts

After two short months, the mayor has determined that Baltimore is dirty; after seven long years, the city remains gripped by an alcohol and drug abuse epidemic.

The mayor chooses to get Baltimore clean; 43,000 addicted men and women in Baltimore are dying for the same opportunity. Why?

ichael Bradley

Owings Mills

'Jockocracy'

Our society has become enthralled with games. Many of our "heroes" are athletes. Not since the days of the games on the plain of Olympia has the athlete been held in such esteem.

Is there not something wrong with a culture that compensates these individuals with such obscene sums to play games?

The multitudes that spend their hard-earned dollars to witness athletic exhibitions are free to do so. But what of the consumer who must, of necessity, patronize the sponsors of such events? They are involuntarily subsidizing a "jockocracy."

What percentage of the cost of a beverage, hamburger or automobile finds its way into the pockets of the professional athlete and his employer via the advertising agency's television or radio budget?

The system is rigged to favor the athlete and his promoters, and it will never change. There are too many hogs at the trough.

. Bernard Hihn

Baltimore

Bad ads

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Should alcohol advertisements be prohibited on television?

Alcohol is a depressant drug which has the capacity to "turn off" certain parts of the brain. When this happens, some brain cells are killed, never to be replaced again.

Alcohol has caused many problems, such as auto deaths. Family and employers have had serious problems with ones who continue to drink and tend to make excuses.

I know there are plenty of lobbyists in Washington standing guard to oppose anyone who might take action against allowing TV advertisements to be prohibited.

Alice Carmody

Baltimore

No addiction

I am writing to comment on your Aug. 22 article, "Cybernauts' on-line lives can lead to 'net' addiction."

I would like to point out that while there are many users who JTC spend a great deal of their time on the net, it is by no means an addiction, scarcely more so than individuals who spend a lot of time reading their newspaper, calling friends, writing letters and going to parties.

I would categorize this article as misguiding sensationalism. The author makes no mention of the millions of Americans who are "addicted" to television and spend as much time in front of a television as the most dedicated Internet user.

The Internet is an interactive social forum, and its usage indicates at least the user's basic level of computer literacy, which is obviously lacking in most "couch potatoes."

Omar Siddique

Baltimore

Planning a practical linear park

I hope the most recent proposal for a bike and hike trail in Leakin/Gwynns Falls Park is examined before any concrete is poured. It was clearly drawn with no practical consideration made as to geography, history, ecology or efficiency.

Perhaps it, like so many other past park "improvements," is an excuse to spend money and/or cut trees. . . . Questions abound.

Why start at the Crimea? Parking is poor, as are the facilities and the access. The proposed starting point is not even along the stream.

Cyclists, hikers and wheelchair rollers ought to be forewarned that the first mile is a steep drop into the valley; the return trip a rigorous climb.

Not impossible, but is it what one wants to do on an afternoon with the kids? A nice optional side trip, but not a leisurely trip from the B & O Museum.

Why not begin at Gwynn Oak Park? Parking and bike shops are close. The park offers a wonderful destination for return trippers and those hiking, pedaling and rolling from the east.

Access from the county is simplified. And the way would be gentle. The park is on the stream and follows it as it gradually slopes into the city.

Do current proposals take old construction into account? Or is the trail to be forced through where no wheels have gone before?

Leakin Park has many trails, paths and even roadways abandoned along its contours. A route from Gwynn Oak could link with the former millrace that begins at Dickeyville and follows the Gwynns Falls on its north and east banks. Most of the overgrown sections are easily identifiable all the way to Wilkens Avenue.

Such a course could unite with the remnants of the city's parkway construction of 1904-1920, joining with Ellicott Driveway and also branching with Gwynns Falls Parkway at Chesholm Road.

Reaching through Gwynns Falls Parkway would add access to and from Cahill Recreation Center, Walbrook and Douglass high schools, Hanlon Park, Druid Hill Park and the Baltimore Zoo.

The future of the Western Maryland Railroad line is also of importance. The few freights per week may soon be too little to pay the lines' up-keep.

The tracks follow a route originally proposed as a parkway. One can still imagine it looking at a map today: following the Gwynn Falls north from I-95 near Carroll Park, then under Wilkens Avenue, Frederick Avenue, Edmondson Avenue and the easterly behind Ellicott Driveway north through the present campus of Coppin State and over the Gwynns Falls Parkway at Tioga

Parkway. These rails were laid against the advice of the planners of the day. A reclamation may be eminently possible.

As far as coffee stands and other developments are concerned, the idea seems ludicrous.

For a linear park of the future, one must not be short-sighted today. Selfish desires of some connected entities must be weighed against the practical and sensible completion of a project designed to fulfill the aspirations of many and inflame hope in all.

Schuyler R. Denham

Baltimore

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