Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Study: Pot use among teens on rise, rivaling tobacco use

Study shows pot more popular among teenagers
Smoking marijuana is becoming even more popular among U.S. teens and they have cut down on smoking cigarettes, binge drinking and using methamphetamine, according to a federal survey released Monday.Okay, that's not all that surprising.
Against common sense, The White House Drug Czar seems to embrace the all too common sunk cost fallacy in response to increasing drug use among American youth. (A sunk cost fallacy is the misguided belief that regardless of how much time, money, or effort is invested in something it'll all be lost unless more time, money, or effort is invested.)
"These latest data confirm that we must redouble our efforts to implement a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to preventing and treating drug use," Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
This is what I'd expect from the "Drug Czar" and director of ONDCP. The problem is, despite the ONDCP's efforts to curb illegal drug use, rates of illegal drug use among teens have risen, so they're reasoning is that more money and effort must be poured into this losing battle.

I am beating my head against a wall trying to understand why the government continues to embrace the belief that they haven't showered enough money and time into this. The "War on Drugs" has been at raging at full steam for several decades with no end in sight.

However, Former Police Chief Norm Stamper offers a different approach to drug use. Legalize them all. While I don't support the legalization of all drugs, I admit that less than 100 years ago virtually all drugs were legal and we had far fewer problems with less prevalent use.
...However, even a cursory study of our drug war policies will reveal that legalizing pot but not other drugs will leave huge social harms unresolved.
Legalizing marijuana only will not:
• Stop gangs from selling other drugs to our kids (since illegal drug dealers rarely check for ID);
• Stop drug dealers from brutally murdering rival traffickers for the purpose of controlling the remaining criminal market for other drugs;
• Stop drug dealers from firing on cops charged with fighting the senseless war on other illicit drugs;
• Stop drug dealers from killing kids caught in crossfire and drive-by shootings;
• Stop overdose deaths of drug users who refrain from calling 911 out of fear of legal repercussions;
• Reduce the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS and hepatitis, since marijuana users don’t inject their drug like heroin users (who sometimes share dirty needles and syringes because prohibition makes it hard to secure clean ones);
• Stop the bloody cartel battles in Mexico that are rapidly expanding over the border into the U.S;
• Stop the Taliban from raking in massive profits from illegal opium cultivation in Afghanistan.
Of course, none of this means that our rapidly growing marijuana legalization movement should slow down.
Sadly, the problem of drug abuse is not one that can be solved overnight, but we can work to reduce as much harm as possible for the time being while other solutions are being weighed.

Lastly, Norm Stamper offers this last insight.
Marijuana legalization is a great step in the direction of sane and sensible drug policy. But we reformers must remember that we’re working to legalize drugs not because we think they are safe, but because prohibition is far more dangerous to users and nonusers alike.
Until then, I'll be prayin' for common sense in our government...

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