Bush Officials Campaign About Marijuana Dangers

  Bush Officials Campaign About Marijuana Dangers

Posted by CN Staff on May 04, 2005 at 10:03:54 PT
By Margaret Talev  
Source: Argus 

Washington, D.C. -- Smoking marijuana can make teenagers mentally ill, even suicidal — at least that's the message behind a nationwide campaign announced Tuesday by the Bush administration. "Marijuana can be dangerous for our children's mental health," White House drug czar John P. Walters told reporters at a news conference. Neil McKeganey, a Scotland-based researcher joining the administration for the announcement, said that while it was long assumed teens with psychological problems gravitated to marijuana to self-medicate, growing evidence indicates "the marijuana use itself is on some level causing the problems."
But some researchers and advocates of legalizing marijuana say the latest international findings suggest only that this might be true for a fraction of teens with a history of psychotic disorders in their families. They say the administration seems more interested in sending a broad-based political message, as Congress and a growing number of states consider medicinal marijuana and decriminalization policies that could affect millions of users, than in targeting the far smaller subset of teens most at risk. "Our position is, absolutely, young kids should not be smoking marijuana," said Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project. However, Mirken said, "there are real doubts about how definitive some of this information is, whether the evidence for causality is as strong as they're making it out to be." The campaign by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, including ads slated to run next week in newspapers across the country,  tells parents that youth are twice as likely to develop depression later in life if they smoke marijuana on a weekly basis and that marijuana users ages 12-17 are more than three times as likely as non-users to have suicidal thoughts. The American Psychiatric Association and a variety of other medical, behavioral and school groups have signed on. Critics say parents who discover their teens abusing marijuana should look into counseling and perhaps treatment for depression, but addressing the marijuana use and leaving it at that is not the answer. "Just because pot comes first doesn't mean pot is the cause — depressed teens have a whole lot of things going on," said Mitch Earleywine, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Southern California and decriminalization advocate who wrote the 2002 book "Understanding Marijuana." The campaign also cites an increased risk of schizophrenia among teen marijuana users. A well-regarded study out this year does show such a link, but Earleywine said the same study also suggests that only a small proportion of teens might be susceptible. First, he said, they must inherit a certain gene from both parents; that rules out about three of every four people. Second, they are chronic marijuana users. Of them, about 15 percent develop psychotic symptoms apparently in connection to the brain's reaction to marijuana. "If a subset of folks have psychotics (schizophrenics or those with other personality disorders) in their family, like a brother or a parent, you should steer clear of marijuana," Earleywine  said. "And that's what they should say, not, 'Oh my God, you're going to go psychotic if you smoke pot.' Because what happens is, if they say, 'If you smoke pot you're going to go crazy,' and kids know people who smoke pot who aren't crazy, then when the drug czar says something that's true, like 'Methamphetamine is dangerous,' the kids don't believe that, either." He also said several studies suggest high schoolers and those younger simply lack the ability to control their drug use. The younger kids are when they start smoking marijuana, the more likely they are to become dependent and the more likely they fall behind in school. McKeganey acknowledged many gaps in what scientists know about the cause-and-effect relationship between mental illness and marijuana use.  "What we need to know is what is the physical mechanism within the brain that is actually causing that to occur, but if we wait until we understand that mechanism we will have watched many, many thousands of young people go on to experience serious adverse outcomes and in some cases tragic outcomes," he said. "So the important public health message has to come out prior to that examination of the genetic or biological mechanisms." Note: Administration claims smoking pot can lead to mental illness in teens.Source: Argus, The (CA)Author: Margaret Talev Published: May 4, 2005Copyright: 2005 ANG NewspapersContact: arguslet angnewspapers.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Project Czar Links Marijuana To Mental Health Becomes Focus of Drug War Behind 45 Percent of U.S. Drug Arrests

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help

Comment #8 posted by Max Flowers on May 05, 2005 at 09:23:15 PT
Great letter, VitaminT
Extremely eloquent! Thanks! You gave that Scot shill the real poop.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 04, 2005 at 18:49:09 PT

Isn't that terrible! Somedays I just don't understand how we have gotten so out of sync with what is right and good.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #6 posted by BGreen on May 04, 2005 at 18:02:59 PT

This is how the gov't protects the kiddies
We care so much about this kiddies that we're willing to sacrifice them to drug research and war.The Reverend Bud Green************************************************************Researchers Tested Drugs on Foster KidsBy JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writer 47 minutes agoWASHINGTON - Government-funded researchers tested
AIDS drugs on hundreds of foster children over the past two decades, often without providing them a basic protection afforded in federal law and required by some states, an Associated Press review has found.The research funded by the National Institutes of Health spanned the country. It was most widespread in the 1990s as foster care agencies sought treatments for their
HIV-infected children that weren't yet available in the marketplace.The practice ensured that foster children — mostly poor or minority — received care from world-class researchers at government expense, slowing their rate of death and extending their lives. But it also exposed a vulnerable population to the risks of medical research and drugs that were known to have serious side effects in adults and for which the safety for children was unknown.The research was conducted in at least seven states — Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Colorado and Texas — and involved more than four dozen different studies. The foster children ranged from infants to late teens, according to interviews and government records.Several studies that enlisted foster children reported patients suffered side effects such as rashes, vomiting and sharp drops in infection-fighting blood cells as they tested antiretroviral drugs to suppress AIDS or other medicines to treat secondary infections.SNIPPED
Researchers Tested Drugs on Foster Kids
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by stoner spirit on May 04, 2005 at 15:31:39 PT:

Bush oficials, The Leaders of Prohibs
I'm tired of this political bull, these dumb asses are throwing more gass onto the fire. Why not have a legal market?, oh yeah, I forgot, we can't do that; you must poison yourself with what we give you, not heal yourself with a good green plant.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #4 posted by runderwo on May 04, 2005 at 15:15:15 PT

Even if cannabis were *deadly* for children, they are still relying on the implicit assumption that jailing adults for using it, and not replacing the black market with a legal regulated market, somehow means that less kids will have access to cannabis.How about psychotic effects on children who drink alcohol? Oh, they don't drink because their parents would whoop their ass, and they can't get it because anyone who sold it to them would be arrested and lose their liquor license. Gee, what a surprise. You think that might be the reason nobody is using children as an excuse to drum up alcohol prohibition for adults? Because prohibition would not address any of those problems?Prohibition has failed in controlling children's access to cannabis. That's the take-home message, and knowing that, these sort of claims fall down like a house of cards. Not surprising considering putting adults in jail is largely an orthogonal approach. That in mind, it's likely that the welfare of the children is simply used as an excuse to continue to leverage prohibition against adults, rather than as a point of genuine concern. It's sickening, but that's politics.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 04, 2005 at 12:16:39 PT

I just posted the small UPI article in a comment. It's about Tony Blair.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by VitaminT on May 04, 2005 at 12:13:03 PT

why not a press conference with Tony W. Blair?
Mr. McKeganey, 
 I just read about your big announcement with the White House Drug War Propaganda apparatus and I just had to seek you out to say how brave you are to go public with such gauze-thin evidence. Just what the world needs, yet another round of bureaucrats chirping hysterical claims that scarcely comport with any observable reality. 
I have had enough of this Chicken Little anti-drug fanaticism to last a lifetime and am not willing to sit quietly and watch yet another goddamn generation of American youth sent to prison over a plant that is nearer to harmless than is water! 
As a lifelong Cannabis consumer (who has never suffered an ill effect from it) I welcome sound scientific information intended to protect me and my family from harms that I would not otherwise detect. However, what you and ONDCP have done achieves the precise opposite! 
As a tool of the fanatical propagandists - you have taken a small kernel of potentially useful evidence and blown it far out of proportion in terms of whom and how many will suffer negative effects! That of course is business as usual for John Walters but he doesn't claim any scientific credentials, neither does he give a damn about truth-telling - a characteristic that must be anathema to researchers in any true scientific discipline. 
>Promote the RACIST War on Drugs >Keep Billions flowing into the Prison Industry >Feed the black market Drug-MafiaThese are the outcomes, if not the aims of the policies and politicians with whom you've aligned yourself. 
Shame on You! 
 VitaminTHouston, Texas 
ps  I live in Houston, Texas - the greatest of the worlds Drug War gulags so I see first hand the works of the America's Ivory-Tower Addiction pseudo-scientists like George Ricuarte, Alan Leshner, Joseph Califano and Eric Voth - I urge you to get out now and separate yourself from this crowd or just become another ONDCP grant whore like them!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 04, 2005 at 10:26:11 PT

Reefer Madness from Years Ago
The more things change the more they stay the same.PS: I hope the Gala event in D.C. gets some good press!
[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment