I have never used marijuana. I hope my son or any future children I have never use it, either. I don't say that to myself, but rather to make it known from where I come on this issue, and that is that I think we could save a lot of law enforcement time, money, effort, and other resources (not to mention prison space) by legalizing the stuff and controlling it in the same way that alocohol is controlled. Wouldn't that free up law enforcement to catch (and prison cells to hold) more of the people who are out to do harm to other people?
Like I said, I'm no fan of marijuana, but I don't think that it's doing any more harm to society than alcohol (some would argue that it's doing less harm), and alcohol is legal.
Friday, April 8, 2005
Drug czar calls pot a danger to kids
By Jane Prendergast
Enquirer staff writer
WALNUT HILLS - President Bush's drug czar wants parents and kids to know: Marijuana is as serious a drug as any other.
John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, visited Cincinnati on Thursday as part of his push to convince Americans that marijuana isn't a "soft'' drug. Too many young people start smoking marijuana because they think it's harmless, he said.
"The single biggest enemy is cynicism,'' he said in a speech at First Step Home, a substance-abuse treatment shelter for women in Walnut Hills. "We have to pay attention. We have to correct misinformation. This is not a joke.''
Though marijuana is not as toxic as cocaine or heroin, and doesn't cause overdose or death, the drug is increasingly the primary cause nationwide of admissions to substance-abuse treatment facilities, he said. In 2002, about 130 people of every 100,000 who were 12 or older sought help for marijuana abuse. That was up by 162 percent from a decade earlier.
The White House thinks it's crucial to get its message to pre-teens because studies show people are much less likely to become dependent on drugs after 19, Walter said. He called marijuana abuse a "pediatric-onset disease.''
Walters said he supports confidential, non-punitive drug testing for teenagers as a way to get them help. About 140 schools across the country are doing that now, he said.
To parents, he advised: "You have to be concerned about this before you think you have to be concerned about this. Tell (your children) what you care about."
The First Step Home started in 1993. Executive Director Margo Spence said the facility is the only licensed treatment option in Hamilton County that allows children to live there with their mothers.