THERE IS currently a huge uproar about violence and crime in the city of Philadelphia. But what about the link between drugs and crime? The statistics on this are startling enough that they should convince all involved that the best way to tackle the crime/violence problem is to tackle the drug problem. For one thing, many offenders are jailed and punished for the crimes that arose out of their drug addictions but are not being treated for the underlying cause of their crimes - addiction or mental-health problems. By no means do I advocate that addicts committing crimes should be set free because of their illness, but that they should be given intensive and effective treatment for their condition, rather than punishment. Would not successful rehabilitation be a far better outcome than a few years off the streets, only to return to the same old behavior? I am sure that intensive and effective rehab programs would ultimately pay for themselves many times over. But, in order to be effective, such programs would have to be of sufficient length and intensity to make a lasting impact. The common notion that a 30-day placement can turn a person's life around is ridiculous. It took the addict more than 30 days to become an addict, and it will take more than 30 days to change an entire lifestyle and outlook on life. Of course, the best approach would be to prevent drug problems before they start. Much greater funding needs to be devoted to effective programs. I know of elementary-school programs where children are shown different drugs, told what they are, what they do - and to "just say no." Not surprisingly, these programs do not work. On the other hand, having people come in to speak from personal experience would, in my opinion, be a lot more effective. Perhaps some of the rehabilitated inmates could perform this service as part of their discharge obligations. More intensive in school counseling at the elementary school level might help today's children with the many stresses they face daily. Why did I became so interested in this issue? I lost my 16-year-old daughter to the curse of addiction. I am now almost embarrassed to admit that I used to think that drug users and criminals were mostly worthless "losers," not worthy of society's efforts at rehabilitation. Lock them up and throw away the key! Still, I felt she was a rare exception, until I began to meet other moms whose children had died from drug overdoses. I was amazed that these women, these families, were not at all what I'd assumed the families of drug addicts were like. The bottom line is that Philadelphia (as well as everywhere else) needs to wake up to the fact that the majority of all crimes are in some way drug-related, and the key to solving the crime problem is to solve the drug problem. Think the drug problem isn't your concern because you've had no one in your family or circle of loved ones affected by drugs? Wrong. You ARE affected by it simply by virtue of the increased crime rate in your community. I hope and pray that those in power will wake up to this before it is too late - before we lose an entire generation to the curse of drugs and the crimes and violence that go with it. But, if they don't hear from you, they'll never know. It is up to you to let those in power know that substance abuse is high on your list of concerns because it is a major underlying factor in the incidence of crime in all our communities, not just Philadelphia! Vigorously attack the drug problem and you will decrease the crime rate. Guaranteed! Let those in power (your elected officials) know of your concerns about the link between drugs and crime.