An editorial from

Scripps Howard News ServiceIs the war on drug abuse winnable? Its failures have been getting a good deal of attention: Almost everyone knows that anti-smuggling efforts have failed to keep increased supplies of cocaine from entering the country. But on the demand side, the news is more encouraging.

According to the Defense Department, illicit drug use in the military has dropped by roughly one-half since 1985. Marijuana use has fallen from 6.5 percent of the troops to 2.9 percent; other drugs, from 5.8 percent to 3.1 percent.

These figures are dramatically lower than those for 1980, when more than one-fourth of all servicemen were drug users.

Since then the armed forces have implemented a tough program of random urine testing and discharge from service. Other employers could learn from their example.