An Expensive Habit

An Expensive Habit
Posted by FoM on March 01, 2000 at 14:32:30 PT
Letters To The Editor
Source: The Register-Guard
I appreciate The Register-Guard's recent coverage of the many facets of local drug use. The media town hall meeting on heroin addiction held recently at the KEZI studios was a great success and needs to happen again. From heroin to toddlers on Prozac, The Register-Guard has taken great strides to increase coverage of what drugs are truly costing us.
With the proposed $1.6 billion anti-drug aid package to Colombia, we ignore history and the will of the Colombian people. How does the shipment of 30 Blackhawk helicopters and 18 more UH-1 Huey helicopters further the wishes of the 5 million to 10 million people who took to the streets in Colombia last year, marching for peace?The issue of Colombian intervention by U.S. troops is a compelling nightmare. Do we think the troops will meet no resistance? And do we think American bodies won't come home in bags again? It is not a question of whether Colombia will become the next Vietnam. The issue is whether the United States will continue to ignore treatment as an alternative to incarceration for addicts. Will we continue to incarcerate proponents of medical marijuana, jailing quadriplegics and cancer patients? Will our habits kill our sense and compassion?How many innocents like Mario Paz, Ismael Mena, Donald Scott and many, many more will die, victims of police and judicial errors? The War on (some) Drugs has led to testing our children's urine rather than testing their knowledge of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution. From the hallways of our preschools to the forests, mountains and villages of Colombia, America's thirst for drugs (legal and illegal) is an expensive habit. It is a habit we (and the freedoms our ancestors fought for) cannot afford much longer.ALLAN ERICKSONEugeneDetection Times Vary:I agree wholeheartedly with Lani Anderson's Feb. 22 letter saying that we should say no to school drug testing. However, her statement that drugs stay in our bodies for three days is not correct. That time frame applies, approximately, to the amphetamines, cocaine and heroin. It does not apply to alcohol or marijuana.Alcohol is metabolized relatively quickly. As an airline pilot, now retired, my peers and I were regularly subjected to random Breathalyzer tests. I know of no pilot who, having observed the regulatory requirement of "12 hours from bottle to throttle," ever exceeded the 0.01 percent limit.Marijuana is another matter. Detectability by urinalysis is measured in weeks; two to six weeks is an oft-quoted figure. Unlike the so-called hard drugs, marijuana's active ingredient, THC, is not water soluble. It's oil soluble and thus leaves the body's tissues relatively slowly.The net effect of combining a random drug-testing environment with this difference in detectability is to promote hard drug usage. A study conducted in a British prison and reported in the British medical journal, The Lancet, established a baseline for usage of the illicit drugs then instituted random drug testing with, of course, appropriate punishment for inmates testing positive. The results were as predicted: Marijuana usage declined, hard drug usage increased.I do not believe children should use marijuana, but I cannot agree with a policy that decreases marijuana usage at the cost of increasing hard drug usage. And I cannot understand why any school administrator would agree to such a policy. I will hope that they simply did not do their homework. However, as professionals, they are paid to know what they're doing.TERRY LIITTSCHWAGERLeaburgPublished: March 1, 2000Copyright  2000 The Register-GuardCannabisNews Drug Testing & Justice Related Topics:
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