Marijuana Use Not Nation's Biggest Drug Problem

Marijuana Use Not Nation's Biggest Drug Problem
Posted by CN Staff on July 11, 2005 at 09:28:22 PT
Source: Michigan Daily
Michigan -- Methamphetamine use has been gaining popularity nationwide in recent years. According to a survey of 500 sheriff’s offices in 45 states released last week, nearly three-fifths of counties viewed meth as their most pressing drug problem. Despite evidence of a growing epidemic, the Bush administration still unwisely prioritizes marijuana as the focus of its fight against drug use. Every year, the federal government wastes billions of dollars fighting this fairly harmless drug, and the recent report is another telling sign of the continued misallocation of resources in America’s poorly managed war against drugs.
Just prior to the survey’s release, the Office of National Drug Control Policy reaffirmed its commitment to fighting marijuana use as the nation’s most serious drug problem. The office’s argument hinges on the overwhelming number of pot users — 15 million, versus a mere one million for meth. This assessment fails to consider, however, that the effects of meth are often deadly while marijuana is essentially harmless.As a synthetic stimulant with effects similar to cocaine, meth is highly addictive, and long-term use may cause psychological problems, immune system impairment and even death. It can cause aggressive behavior, and its use has been linked to unprotected and promiscuous sex, resulting in a disproportionate number of users infected with sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. Additionally, meth labs are dangerous, produce toxic waste and have been known to catch fire or explode. Meth-related crimes are overwhelming law enforcement officials, and meth abuse and addiction are greatly contributing the overflow of patients that many drug-focused health centers are now facing.In contrast, marijuana presents few health risks and has legitimate therapeutic value. The only threat a typical marijuana user poses to society is an insatiable hunger for Doritos. Because of its value as a painkiller and anti-nausea medication, medicinal marijuana has been legalized in many states and cities like Ann Arbor. After two years of hearings on medicinal marijuana, Drug Enforcement Administrative Law Judge Francis Young found in 1988 that marijuana was one of the safest therapeutic drugs available and said, “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume.”Considering that the federal government spends over $12 billion fighting drugs each year, it is surprising that the administration remains so out of touch with the reality of drug enforcement. The war on drugs unwisely targets the supply side of drug trafficking and has been ineffective in curbing drug use — while usage has fallen since the late 1970s, recent years have shown leveling off and even increases in use among all age groups. The money spent fighting drugs has been generally misallocated, unless fueling violence abroad and crowding prisons with nonviolent drug offenders can be considered worthy ends.Providing funds to prevent the abuse of dangerous drugs and to offer treatment for recovering addicts could be worthy uses of federal funds, but the administration’s stance on marijuana is instead reminiscent of the misguided prohibition era, with law enforcement frantically trying to stop the production and sale of a drug that poses comparatively little danger to individuals or society as a whole. Like a stubborn child, the federal government foolishly sticks to its commitment to combating marijuana, demonstrating yet again its failure to properly assess and handle drug abuse.Complete Title: The Tired War on Pot: Marijuana Use Not Nation's Biggest Drug ProblemSource: Michigan Daily (MI Edu)Published: July 11, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Michigan DailyContact: daily.letters umich.eduWebsite: Articles:Officials Across U.S. Describe Drug Woes Marijuana Saps Anti-Drug Effort
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on July 12, 2005 at 07:40:07 PT
I'm sure I am! LOL! 
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Comment #10 posted by billos on July 12, 2005 at 03:15:08 PT
ur dating yourself.......:)
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Comment #9 posted by jose melendez on July 11, 2005 at 21:36:23 PT
outing the sworn message
The Crime: Today, when people are young they don't realize the risks of doing meth, crack, or heroin, thanks in no small part to the false "messages"(1) sent by individuals with special and financial interests in the name of and with full force of the state(2).Some of these messages are made in the process of authorizing or receiving federal funds(3), and even SWORN UNDER OATH(4): "You would feel better if you used meth, crack or heroin. There's a difference between medical practice and intoxication."- John Walters Imaginary Medical Practice: Feel-Good House Committee Rejects Medical Marijuana Proposal
Associated Press; February 17, 2005An Illinois House committee rejected a proposal to legalize medical marijuana Thursday, but not without some drama as police detained an activist who brought 300 marijuana cigarettes to the hearing.Irvin Rosenfeld testified about how marijuana had helped him cope with the pain of bone tumors for more than 30 years. Afterward, he was detained for about 30 minutes while police verified that he is one of seven people provided with marijuana by the federal government under a little-publicized program.The bill to legalize medicinal use of marijuana in Illinois failed 4-7 in the House Human Services Committee.The White House "drug czar," John Walters, also testified before the committee, telling lawmakers the bill would create safety and law-enforcement problems."I don't think this is simply about medicine," Walters said.He said smoking marijuana is unhealthy, addictive and could lead to the use of other drugs, and its ability to help some people feel better isn't a compelling reason to legalize it."People feel better when they take crack. People feel better when they take heroin. People feel better when they take meth," he said.Other speakers testified that marijuana is the only thing that helps them cope with chronic pain from glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer and other conditions. medical practice: from the Oxford Textbook Definition of Palliative CareIn 1993, the Introduction to the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, Doyle, Hanks and MacDonald defined palliative care as: "the study and management of patients with active, progressive, far-advanced disease for whom the prognosis is limited and the focus of care is on the quality of life." Right.'How can the narcotic police judge individual cases intelligently, assuming they are intelligent, when they do not know the patient and they know nothing about medicine in the first place?As Dr. Satel stated in her article, "It is not known how many patients need long-term treatment with opioids, particularly at high doses. Dr. Russell K. Portenoy, chairman of pain medicine and palliative care at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, cites surveys estimating that as many as 6 to 10 percent of Americans suffer from chronic, disabling pain. He speculates that maybe 1 in 10 of them could benefit from long-term, high dose treatment."I beg to differ. If a patient has "chronic, disabling pain," I maintain that 10 out of 10 of them could benefit from long-term, high-dose treatment. Something tells me that if Russell suddenly found himself in chronic disabling pain, he might alter his opinion.' War Briefs: Drug Czar Unofficially InsaneBy Kevin Nelson, AlterNet. Posted July 21, 2004.This week, activists at the International AIDS Conference say that injection drug use is fuelling the global AIDS crisis; a long-term Florida methamphetamine investigation results in the arrest of 81 people and 16 pounds of meth; and White House Drug "Czar" John Walters argues that marijuana is more dangerous than heroin or cocaine and hopes to shift research and enforcement efforts away from "hard" drugs and onto marijuana. Protect and ServeAn Illinois House committee rejected a proposal to legalize medical marijuana Thursday, but not without some drama. Police detained an activist who brought 150 marijuana cigarettes to the hearing.
(1, 2, 3, 4) Felony Drug War Crimes Pay
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 11, 2005 at 20:49:36 PT
I wanted to comment on Meth and shooting Meth. When people are young they don't realize the risk to doing Meth that way but a person might find out later that the needle and the damage is done. It's too late. HepC and other diseases are transmitted that way not to mention anything going into the bloodstream is risky.
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Comment #7 posted by runderwo on July 11, 2005 at 20:41:25 PT
Of course people have to be reasonable when they use those things. I think if more education focused on recognizing the signs of dependence and the necessity of cutting down at that point, less harm would come of it. But the only education that is tolerable to our society is abstinence. No surprise that people go in without a clue as to what they're in for.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 11, 2005 at 15:41:10 PT
Mother's Little Helper
What a drag it is getting old"Kids are different today,"I hear ev'ry mother sayMother needs something today to calm her downAnd though she's not really illThere's a little yellow pillShe goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helperAnd it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day"Things are different today,"I hear ev'ry mother sayCooking fresh food for a husband's just a dragSo she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steakAnd goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helperAnd two help her on her way, get her through her busy dayDoctor please, some more of theseOutside the door, she took four moreWhat a drag it is getting oldComplete Lyrics:
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Comment #5 posted by runderwo on July 11, 2005 at 15:25:56 PT
not just dieting
Truck drivers and security guards have been known to use meth too. Probably any occupation where long attention spans are attached to a boring activity. Most of the problems we see with what meth does to the user are with injected black market methamphetamine. Why do users inject it? They are seeking the rush that can only be provided by injection. Most people know that this rush is extremely bad for them (and/or hate needles). They just want the wakefulness and reduced appetite. If mothers little helpers were still available over the counter, most people would never get involved with something as frivolous and stupid as injecting meth, when they aren't looking for the rush in the first place but rather the other more utilitarian effects.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on July 11, 2005 at 10:55:39 PT
I did Meth back in the 70s and really fear it becoming a part of our society. It just dried up years ago and I remember saying to myself good it's gone and I hope it never comes back. If people could still be prescribed a good diet pill like years ago they wouldn't use Meth I don't think. People that get strung out on Meth need help not jail I believe.
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Comment #3 posted by runderwo on July 11, 2005 at 10:49:17 PT
Of course, the two biggest problems with meth - that meth labs are dangerous to neighbors and children of the cooks, and that users are destroying their bodies with poisonous products - are due entirely to prohibition. It's unquestionable that meth abuse is as unwise as cocaine or heroin abuse. But to pile more harm on top of the existing risks through prohibition is a strange tactic.At best, preventing the sale of pseudoephredine will prevent the trailer-park meth cook from obtaining a supply. It will do nothing to prevent the drug from being manufactured in even more clandestine locations by more professional chemists.As long as there is a demand, the supply will meet it. Destroying the supply doesn't destroy the demand, it just raises the incentive for other suppliers. The only way to destroy demand is to convince people that meth is bad for them and that they should seek treatment (i.e. education) or to create meth-related problems for them where they wouldn't otherwise exist (i.e. prison). But like another poster said, as long as people's jobs depend on them not understanding that prison does more harm than good to a typical user who is not harming anyone else, they are going to be very hard of hearing.
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on July 11, 2005 at 10:12:44 PT
Aug 13 05 Journey For Justice 
Aug 13 05 Journey For Justice 08:00 AM Garry Jones Washington, DC USA 
 Speaker Garry Jones is only one of many speakers at this year's Journey For Justice event in our nation's capitol. Garry and the others will be discussing how America's war on drugs has imprisoned so many of its citizens and how we can get the laws changed. No doubt topics will include mandatory minimum sentencing, the growth of the prison building industry and loss of voting rights of those convicted of drug related crimes. Family Members and Friends of People Incarcerated, an organization based in Montgomery, Alabama is calling for individuals and organizations to travel to Washington, DC and let their vocies be heard. Visit for more information as the event day gets closer. 
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on July 11, 2005 at 09:47:06 PT:
There's that word again: PROHIBITION
That damnable (for antis) word. The word that makes a mockery of all their efforts. The word that hangs around their necks like a dead, stinking albatross. Prohibition.We all know what resulted from the last time it was tried; rich gangsters, crooked cops and judges, and dead civilians (whether from drive-by shootings or poisoned by adulterated contraband, dead is dead). None of which, NONE of which, ever had to happen.Antis, look in the mirror; THIS is what you are: these cartoons come from the past, your behavior makes it clear that some things really don't change. Your predecessors depicted here failed, just as you are failing. But just like those eyeless caricatures, you just can't see the harm you are doing. But more and more, the media is wising up. They have your number now, and it's only a matter of time before you get the drubbing you can't duck.And it all starts with that word: PROHIBITION.
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