Saturday, January 16, 2010

Teen Drug Use; Educate, not incarcerate

Fellow drug policy activist Gil down in South AL had a magnificent LTE published in the BHAM News on Jan.2 that I missed. Here it is.

Teen drug use: Education, not incarceration

The recent article on teen drug use in Alabama highlights the failure of our drug policy to reduce teen drug use. As our experience with tobacco has shown, education works better than putting people in jail.

The News interviewed Carissa Anthony, who blames medical marijuana, saying "the legalization of marijuana in some states for medical use may be breaking down psychological barriers and making marijuana appear less harmful than it is."

How does Anthony explain the lower rate of teen use in these states? Their laws are making our kids more likely to use marijuana while at the same time making their kids less likely. This is a silly assertion.

Overall use and teen use are lower in countries that have legalized (The Netherlands) or fully decriminalized marijuana (Portugal, Spain) than in the United States.

How harmful does Anthony think marijuana is? The Drug Enforcement Administration's own administrative law judge concluded marijuana is "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man" and is "safer than many of the foods we commonly eat."

To reduce teen use and overall use, we must educate not incarcerate.

Gil Joiner
Gulf Shores

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a very worthwhile blog. I am a former undercover drug detective who worked undercover in a high school as a student during the first part of my police career. I don't think that arresting kids is the answer anymore. Education and treatment are better answers than war.

Anyway, my whole website deals with this issue, and its free.