I GREATLY ENJOYED TIMOTHY NOAH'S comprehensive article on Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke {"It's Not Easy Being Mayor," May 27}. However, his sidebar on "The Mayor's Drug Bombshell" contained an important factual error. Mr. Noah erroneously stated that in 1968 Great Britain loosened the restrictions on physicians who treat addicts with heroin. In fact, in 1968, following the second Brain Committee Report, Great Britain tightened up its restrictions because of improper prescribing practices.

It is correct that heroin abuse increased in the United Kingdom during the 1980s, but not because of a change in regulations. Worldwide trafficking patterns changed, and the social character of the United Kingdom was shattered. It is naive to attribute changes in a society's drug-consuming pattern primarily to changes in the law. To do so would support an argument that ever more stringent drug laws in Britain caused the heroin epidemic. ERIC E. STERLING President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation Washington


WHAT A GREAT ARTICLE, "FEAR OF Itching," by Calvin Trillin {May 27}. I too have been mobbed by the invisible chigger. About 1970, my family ventured to the mountains of West Virginia. My daughters and I wore knee-high boots with jeans tucked in. WRONG!!!

I found out that the best way to avoid the hungry chiggers is to wear as few clothes as possible. I never wear boots anymore and usually shorts rather than long pants in warm weather. And I found by trial and error a cure for the terminal itching. After trying all the remedies, including rubbing alcohol and nail polish, I rolled on some Ban deodorant. To my amazement, the itching stopped, and when it started again, I rolled on more deodorant. Within a day or so, no more recurrent itching. I have since found that almost any roll-on deodorant works. PATRICIA PEARSON Hyattsville

PLEASE LET IT BE KNOWN THAT CHIGgers are no joke. Anyone in my area can attest to that. Please note that brewer's yeast tablets really seem to work at repelling the invisible pests. If one takes 6 to 10 tablets every day from May till October, there will be very few, if any, chiggers wanting a meal from you. I think it has something to do with B vitamins. ED KING Spotsylvania, Va.

AMPUTATION IS NOT NECESSARY- chigger-bite wise. Only a good portion of table salt on a moistened finger applied to the area and rubbed vigorously, scratching the affected bump hard. The antidote for the insect's serum is salt -- and people around here (the "old-timers") have bathed their children in salt water after a picnic or other places of exposure since time immemorial.

This treatment is simple. You may have to make several applications in severe cases, but the relief is instantaneous, and usually one salt-scratching does the trick. You have to rub hard, though, until you think you can't stand it any longer! ETHEL S. DRIGGS Easton, Md.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The reader should be aware that these chigger remedies have NOT been tested in The Washington Post's laboratories and are merely offered as a public service.


THE VIRGINIA PALISADES ARE AMONG the great scenic natural resources of Washington; each intrusion of private building on the wildness of these cliffs diminishes the quality of wonder that they inspire. The 243-step staircase featured in "J Street" {June 3} appears to be the latest scar, although the owners intend to cover it with planting. More egregious neighbors have cut trees to establish large lawns, even to the extent of creating wide-open spaces down to the river.

A much better precedent is a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on these same palisades; all but invisible in the trees, it nonetheless affords the owners the extraordinary view that they naturally desire. There need not be a conflict between private ownership and public responsibility. WILLIAM B. BECHHOEFER Associate Professor of Architecture University of Maryland College Park

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