DRUGS - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
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It is truly tragic when a young man dies (When The Cheers Turned
To Tears, July 14). However, it is even more upsetting when one
learns the cause is drugs. I would have thought nothing of someone
snorting cocaine a few weeks ago. Then I learned of the deaths of
Len Bias and Don Rogers. Still, I was skeptical that cocaine had
been completely responsible until I began seeing articles on others
who had died from cocaine intoxication. These men had no time to say
goodbye, or even really to start living. No, not all of these men
were superstars, but the same grim message remains. Cocaine kills.
How much more proof does one need?
Merion, Pa.
You had to be living in a cave the last five years if you weren't
aware of the potential dangers of drug use. As Rick Reilly states,
education, especially at an early age, is the key to solving the
problem. The media absolutely saturates the public with news and
information on drug use and abuse; it's there for everyone.
Furthermore, if I had potential or already recognized professional
ability in some sport, the last thing I'd do would be to jeopardize
it by drug use. Given all that, if an adult turns to drugs it's not
only a tragedy, it's just plain dumb.
I am a high school football coach in New York City. For the past
five years I have coached players from three different worlds and
three different financial backgrounds. Other than football and girls,
there has been one common denominator: the use of alcohol and drugs.

Your article suggested that all college players take Real Life
101. College is far too late to teach the hazards of drug and alcohol
abuse. Moreover, not everyone gets to go to college. High school is
where the harsh facts of drug and alcohol abuse should be taught,
especially the havoc it can wreak upon the human body.
Whitestone, N.Y.
Thank you for Rick Reilly's insightful and thought-provoking piece
on the perils of drugs. It would, of course, be a great mistake to
think his words are meant only for athletes -- they apply to all of
Greenwich, Conn.