Page 6


THE TEXAS OBSERVER IN THE CLASS ROOM For orders of ten or more copies of each issue sent to a single address the cost for the semester is just $1.00 per person Classroom subscriptions will begin with the mid-February issue and extend through April. Seven fortnightly issues in all. To place your order, please indicate the number of students who will be subscribing, your needs regarding a free desk-copy, and the mailing address we should use. If the number of subscribers is uncertain, feel free to make a generous estimate. After the necessary revisions to your order have been made, we will bill you only for the number of persons who finally decide to subscribe. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 WEST 7 AUSTIN, TEXAS 78701 \(We’re where you want to be in New York City . . . at 55th St. and Seventh Avenue, close to business, City Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Coliseum, Fifth Avenue, 700 decorated, airconditioned rooms with private bath and free television … Fine restaurant, cocktail lounge and garage. TELE: 212 Circle 7-3900 NEW YORK’S or Toll Free 800/8820. inE rNINimmil . MP/Angl i a 871 Seventh Avenue at 55th Street, N.Y.C. 10019 111 41, II If II The hard issue Austin Dolph Briscoe, unwilling to take a definite stand on the marijuana issue, wants first to deal with hard drug “pushers the harshest way we can.” Then, he says, maybe he’ll think about possibly reducing the penalty for “first possession of a small amount of marijuana.” This is an assbackwards approach to the unignorable mandate to reform the marijuana laws. The grass issue is relatively easy. Marijuana has been in popular use by white middle class youth since the mid sixties. By now most legislators must have learned for themselves or have been informed by their children that marijuana is a very pleasant herb, much less debilitating than alcohol. There is no reliable scientific evidence to support the once popular contentions that marijuana is harmful either to the user or to society in general. Heroin is something else indeed. The moral, medical and criminal considerations in the use of heroin are terrifically complex. And our politicians and our press runneth over with misinformation about the drug. Heroin is not a drug of the Texas middle classes. Most of us know only what we read about heroin and mainly what we read is hearsay. Governor Briscoe tells us, “A pusher who provides the means of subjecting an individual to the living death of heroin addiction might more kindly have shot the user in the temple.” I would venture to guess that Dolph Briscoe does not know pinto beans about heroin addiction. He and the rest of us had better come up with some solid information before we blunder into new legislation. .A GOOD place to start plumbing the depths of our collective ignorance is with “The Myths of Heroin,” by James Q. Wilson, a professor of government at Harvard; Mark H. Moore, an instructor in IReflections public policy at Harvard, and I. David Wheat, Jr., special assistant to the director of the Cost of Living Council. The article, which originally appeared in the fall, 1972, issue of The Public Interest, was printed in abbreviated version \(three full The Washington Post, Dec. 31. The authors don’t lay out any reassuring solution to the heroin problem, but they undermine any dogmatic judgments one might have about the alleged drug menace. Now, I doubt that more than two, at the most, three Observer subscribers are going to race right out and find a copy of The Public Interest, so I’m going to provide a few samplings from the article. The authors insist that “most of the widely accepted opinions on heroin use are not supported by much evidence; that the very concept of ‘addict’ is ambiguous and somewhat misleading; and that many of the apparently reasonable assumptions about heroin use and crime such as the assumption that the legalization of heroin would dramatically reduce the rate of predatory crime, or that intensified law enforcement drives the price of heroin up, or that oral methadone is -a universal substitute for heroin, or that heroin use spreads because of the activities of `pushers’ who can be identified as such turn out on closer inspection to be unreasonable, unwarranted or at least open to more than one interpretation.” They maintain, “There is no single kind of heroin user. Some persons may try it once, find it unpleasant and never use it again; others may ‘dabble’ with it on occasion but, though they find it pleasurable, will have no trouble stopping; still others may use it on a regular basis February 2, 1973 19