Guy Gugliotta's story about the inequities of the U.S. sugar policy {July 16} overlooked the relationship of U.S. farm supports -- sugar being a prime example -- to drug problems here and abroad.

A recent study by Roberto Abusada, a Cornell-educated Peruvian economist, confirmed that loss of access to the U.S. market has contributed to Peruvian farmers turning to coca production. Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley is now the chief source of coca supply for Colombian traffickers exporting cocaine to the United States.

In his study, Mr. Abusada pointed out that eradication and police action are not enough to suppress coca production -- growers simply move deeper into the jungle.

Access to the U.S. sugar market for Peruvian peasants won't solve the world drug problem, but it would -- according to Mr. Abusada's study -- provide Peruvian farmers with a suitable alternative crop that offers an opportunity for legal and livable profit.

If the U.S. drug problem is going to be solved, every avenue of solution is going to have to be explored. For this reason alone, U.S. sugar-price-support policy needs a long and hard look. LEE I. DOGOLOFF Executive Director American Council for Drug Education Washington