...ditto...but once you've touched some code, you own it, and anything it may or may not do with good or bad data as input. so as much as this sounds as a bit of a pain, you're much better of re-writing the code to use good/clean programming patterns. code with symbolic reference variables is harder to debug/maintain/improve. i once wrote a data reporting perl script initially (and naively) using symbolic reference variables. i immediately re-wrote it using multilevel hashes, and the spaghetti code turned magically into nicely ordered simple subroutines and loops, and halved the number of lines of code.
the hardest line to type correctly is: stty erase ^H