Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.), the only presidential candidate to speak at the White House conference on drugs, yesterday called for a get-tough policy, including treating the drug crisis as a national security issue and enacting the death penalty for major dealers.

"The only answer is total war, wiping out the drug epidemic {by attacking supply and demand}," Dole said, suggesting, as some other speakers have this week at the White House Conference for a Drug Free America, that military forces be drafted for the Reagan administration's war on drugs.

"It's time to bring the full force of our military and intelligence communities into this war," Dole said, adding that the drug invasion should be treated as aggressively as any other "national security threat."

Dole also slammed proposals to impede the spread of AIDS by distributing free sanitary needles to intravenous drug users, the group through which the disease is spreading most rapidly.

"Giving clean needles to addicts may prevent disease, but it also endorses addiction," Dole said to loud applause at the closing session of the four-day conference. "We ought to be trying to raise the standards in America, not come down to the standards of those who have the problems."

Joining a chorus of praise heard throughout the week, Dole applauded Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign as a first step toward combating "the most dangerous virus of all, the drug toleration virus."

Dole was the only candidate to attend a forum for presidential hopefuls that wrapped up the antidrug gathering.

The $4 million conference, created by Congress in 1986, is charged with recommending solutions to the United States' deepening drug crisis. Several reports and statistics released during the last two weeks have detailed the hold that drug use has taken on nearly all parts of society.

Although the Reagan administration has poured $21.54 billion into combating drug supply and demand, the conference was held amid dispiriting signs: Drug-related killings are increasing nationally -- with 42 in Washington during January and February -- even as the overall homicide rate has declined. Drug use and purity have increased, especially for cocaine, and new, highly addictive drugs such as crack are sweeping the nation.

Yesterday, the leaders of the conference's 10 committees assigned to study drug-related topics such as public housing, international trafficking and treatment said more commitment and funding are needed in most areas. Their final report is due in June.