Kids are Smoking about as much Pot as Grandma and Grandpa are Smoking

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 7th, 2013

Week in Review

The Sixties gave us hippies and free love.  And the Seventies gave us stoners in junior high school.  Growing up apparently hasn’t changed much for these stoners (see Drug Use Drops for America’s Youth, Rises in the Over 50 Crowd by MIKE LEVINE, ABC News, posted 9/4/2013 on Yahoo! News).

Drug use among America’s youth is dropping, but it’s booming among people over 50, a U.S. government survey released Wednesday shows.

Last year, the rate of illicit drug use among children and teenagers 12 to 17 years old dropped to 9.5 percent, down from 11.6 percent a decade earlier, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) latest national survey.

Meanwhile, illicit drug use among adults 50 to 64 years old has increased in the past decade.

Specifically, illicit drug use among adults 50 to 54 has more than doubled since 2002, reaching 7.2 percent last year. For people 55 to 59, such drug use has more than tripled, reaching 6.6 percent last year.

Marijuana is by far the most-used illicit drug among both children and adults, according to SAMHSA, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

At a press conference Wednesday in Washington, officials expressed particular concern about use by those 12 to 17 years old.

“There’s no question that marijuana is harmful to the developing brains of adolescents,” said SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde, adding that marijuana use has been linked to “significant I.Q. declines.”

So what were these 50-54 year-olds doing when they were 15 (the average of 12 and 17)?  It was the middle of the Seventies.  The height of Cheech and Chong and stoner humor.  Anyone in school in the Seventies knew what 15 year-olds were doing.  Getting high.  Some kids just reeked of marijuana in school.  Some would smoke a joint before school.  Some would cut class and get high.  Much of junior high is a foggy memory to them today.  Having fried a considerable amount of brain cells in those days.

Kids today still smoke more pot than Grandma and Grandpa.  Unless their Grandparents were getting high in the Seventies.  Here’s a test you can do to find out.  Knock on the door and whisper, “It’s Dave.”  If they say, “Who?”  Whisper louder, “Dave!”  If they then reply, “Dave’s not here” and begin laughing you know they were listening to Cheech and Chong in the Seventies.  And probably spent their spare time getting high.  Which is why they are still getting high.  Once a stoner always a stoner.

Which does not bode well for today’s youth.  About 10% of 12-17 year olds are smoking pot.  And that’s with it being illegal.  Imagine what it will be like when more states decriminalize it.  And this isn’t Grandma’s and Grandpa’s pot.  Pot today is far more potent than it was in their day.  And will cause more long-lasting damage.   So they probably won’t even remember why “Dave not’s here” is funny when they reach the ripe old age of 50.

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Girls who are Recreational Drug Users are More Likely to be Victims of Sexual Assault

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 20th, 2013

Week in Review

Here’s another reason for girls to listen to their mom and dad when it comes to drug use.  Not only will the drugs harm them but other bad things can happen to them while they’re under the influence (see One in five recreational drug users ‘taken advantage of sexually’ by James Ball posted 4/18/2013 on the guardian).

One in five recreational drug users in the UK has been taken advantage of sexually while vulnerable after alcohol or drug use. The finding is one of the starkest results from the 2013 Global Drug Survey, conducted in partnership with the Guardian, Mixmag and GT magazine, which polled more than 7,000 users…

In the survey, 20% of drug users said they had been taken advantage of sexually after alcohol or drug use; in an answer to a separate question 14% said they had been given alcohol or drugs by someone they believed had the intention of taking advantage of them sexually; and 2.4% had said they had had sex without giving their consent as a result of being drugged without their knowing.

The survey used “being taken advantage of sexually” as specific wording on its questions in this area to include behaviour ranging from sexual assault up to and including rape…

“Intoxication can also impair a person’s ability to give informed consent, remove themselves from a risky situation or to take safe sex precautions…”

Women were three times more likely to report sexual assault as a result of drug use than men, while younger respondents were at significantly more risk: 16- to 20-year-olds were twice as likely to have been taken advantage of sexually than 21- to 30-year-olds, and seven times more likely than those over 30…

… around one in seven (14%) of respondents said they had, in the last twelve months, taken a mystery white powder without knowing what it was – a similar level to last year, when the phenomenon was first examined. Among recent users of cocaine, speed or MDMA, this figure doubled to 28%. Alcohol was a huge factor contributing to people’s willingness to try a mystery drug: 78% said they were intoxicated when accepting the powder. But perhaps most disturbingly for those worried about the consequences, 39% accepted the powder from a stranger or someone they did not know well.

People go to bars to meet other people.  And they relax over some alcoholic beverages to loosen up.  To have a good time.  And it’s been a time-honored way for adult men and women to meet each other and end the evening with sex.  They drink to impair their better judgment.  And the judgment they’re trying to impair is the level of physical attraction a person requires to say ‘yes’ for an evening of sex.  A lot these people go to the bar with the object of sleeping with someone that night.  The alcohol just hastens the selection process.  And this is how people have fun grownup style.  At least those who haven’t escaped the dating scene through wedded bliss.

But it’s different when underage people are drinking.  When a boy’s hormones are racing.  And he’s thinking of little else but having fun grownup style.  Even though he’s still a kid.  All the while we’re bombarding him with messages of safe sex, birth control and abortion services.  Which, of course, tells him that there must be nothing wrong with giving in to those hormonal urges.  Especially when high schools hand out free birth control.  And allow a girl to get an abortion without telling her parents.  Why it’s as if the schools are telling him to give in to those hormonal urges.  Because there are no consequences.  Which is where the alcohol and drugs come in.  For despite how much they may want to have consequence-free sex some of the girls are listening to their parents.  So they turn to alcohol and drugs.  Not to get these girls to say ‘yes’.  But to get them to stop saying ‘no’.

This is the unintended consequences of getting young women to vote Democrat by empowering them to become sex objects for boys.  The Left warns them that if they don’t vote Democrat that Republicans will force them into loveless marriages where they will become nothing but baby making machines.  Filling their days with nothing but raising babies, cooking and cleaning.  But if they vote Democrat they will keep all of their reproductive rights.  Free birth control.  And access to abortion.  So they can have all of the consequence-free sex they want.  A message, sadly, these boys are receiving loud clear.

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Methadone Overdoses kill more Teens and Young Adults than Guns Do

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 10th, 2013

Week in Review

Colorado and Washington have recently decriminalized marijuana.  Pot shops can now legally sell marijuana without violating state law.  They are still violating federal law but the Obama administration has stated that they won’t prosecute recreational users in those states.  Even the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) is looking to organize these pot shops.  It seems everyone wants to cash in on greater drug use.  And why not?  What could possibly go wrong with that (see Drug Users Turn Death Dealers as Methadone From Bain Hits Street by Sydney P. Freedberg posted 2/8/2013 on Bloomberg)?

While the number of U.S. overdose deaths involving methadone peaked in 2007, it was still almost six times higher in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, than in 1999.  The data don’t reflect the source of the methadone—whether it’s addiction clinics or pain prescriptions.  More than one drug might be involved in each death.

So how many overdose deaths where there in 2010?  About 4,500.  More than the 3,889 dead from firearms in 2010 for ages 15-24.  Common ages for drug addiction.  So to stop these needless deaths we should do everything we can to prevent drug addiction.  From keeping addictive opiates illegal.  And any drugs that may serve as a gateway to these harder and more dangerous addictive drugs.  Such as marijuana.   Often the first drug many addicts start with.  We should do everything we can to get these drugs away from our kids.  Even if it only saves one life.  The rational President Obama uses for sweeping changes in gun control laws that many on the Left even concede will not prevent the kinds of tragedies like that in Newtown, Connecticut.  Yet President Obama has stated that he won’t prosecute recreational marijuana users in Colorado and Washington.  Even though more teens and young adults die from drug overdoses than from guns.

In the small towns where CRC has clinics, its methadone has surfaced in criminal cases, police and prosecutors say. Dearborn County, Indiana, officials are planning a $10 million expansion to the local jail, needed partly because of crimes tied to CRC’s clinic in Lawrenceburg, said prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard.

“We’ve had people come down to the methadone clinic and rob a bank because they need money to pay for methadone,” he said. “We’ve had people at the McDonald’s shooting up. Whether it’s dealing or someone giving take-homes to a friend, it’s been a huge problem…”

In Virginia, 3-year-old Trevor Hylton died on Sept. 30, 2009, after drinking methadone that his mother, Lisa Michelle Hylton, said she left on a kitchen counter in a cough-syrup cup.

Not only does drug addiction destroy the lives of the drug addicts but of the people around them.  Those people robbing banks to pay for their legal methadone.  And once they get it they go and shoot up at the local McDonald’s.  Where young and impressionable kids can be found.  It’s a “huge problem.”  Also, a 2-year old died from this legal substance when it was brought into the house.  Clearly something should be done to stop drug use.  Even if it only saves one life.  Because it is  destroying the lives of addicts.  And those around them.

In methadone maintenance treatment, an almost 50-year-old field, drug addicts get daily doses of the synthetic narcotic. In appropriate amounts, it alleviates the symptoms of withdrawal from heroin or other opiates without getting users high. In combination with counseling, methadone can help addicts stay off illegal drugs and live with more stability, research shows.

Counseling is “the backbone of addiction treatment,” said Elinore F. McCance-Katz, a physician who has advised California state officials on treating opiate dependency. Without it, there’s a “good possibility” that patients won’t reduce or stop their drug use, she said.

Once addicted it’s a bitch to kick.  A lot of people fail trying.  Some don’t even try.  As getting high is more fun than trying to get clean.  Further proof that we need to do something to stop drug use.  Even if it saves only one life.

With the Obama administration looking the other way to flagrant violations of federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington and the UFCW helping to decriminalize marijuana to profit off of drug use one has to wonder why anyone cares about a story about methadone addiction.  This is not the kind of story you want to run when you’re trying to ease drug laws to lock in the youth and drug addict vote.  So why is this even in the news?

Bain Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, paid $723 million for CRC in 2006, corporate filings show. Romney, who left Bain in 1999, had no input in its investments or management of companies after that, he has said…

“With a nonprofit, the incentive is to get people to treatment and wean them off,” Bragg said. “When you have a for-profit and cash-only business, there is no incentive to detox them. In fact, there’s an incentive not to detox them because of the continual cash flow.”

Oh, that’s why.  It’s Mitt Romney’s fault.  Of course.  And that contemptible profit incentive.  It’s never the drug addict’s fault.  Or the societal decay that condones drug use.  Because kids are going to be kids.  They’re going to experiment with drugs as much as they will experiment with sex.  No point telling them not to.  Because kids have to be kids.  Besides, who are they hurting?

Virdie Channing Compton, 30, of Council, Virginia, was on methadone maintenance for more than four years at a CRC clinic in Cedar Bluff after opiate abuse that began in his teens, he said in an interview. After a year or two, he was shooting up his take-homes, he said, and abusing other drugs.

“I was strung out” worse than before, Compton said. He beat the clinic’s drug tests, he said, by sneaking in clean urine in a bottle tucked in his underwear.

On June 3, 2011, Compton had gotten his dose at the clinic and was driving through Council in an unlicensed farm truck when he veered into some oncoming motorcycles. He hit William Van Nortwick, a retired teacher from Safety Harbor, Florida, who was traveling with two sons and a friend on vacation.

Van Nortwick died. Tests showed Compton was under the influence of methadone and Alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He’s serving a nine- year prison sentence.

Kids can hurt a great deal of people when they grow up into drug addicts.  Would that have happened if Bain Capital didn’t take over these methadone clinics?  Probably not.  As these clinics would have been shut down by the state due to budget problems.  Which is why they were privatized in the first place.  So these people may have survived.  But this guy would have still been a drug addict.  An untreated drug addict.  Who may have continued to work his way up to harder drug use.  And turned to crime to support his habit.  Perhaps even becoming a drug dealer.  Possible taking even more lives in the long run with his untreated addiction.  Maybe sharing needles in a heroin addiction.  Catching and spreading AIDS.  Or simply dying earlier from a drug overdose.

Some states are more stringent than others. Ohio has banned for-profit methadone clinics for decades, after state mental- health advocates and leaders decided addiction care was “more in line with the mission of not-for-profit organizations,” said Stacey Frohnapfel-Hasson, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.

That doesn’t keep CRC from treating Ohio addicts. The company’s East Indiana Treatment Center in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, saw 2,479 patients in 2011, state records show; only 380 of them were Indiana residents. Almost 45 percent, or 1,111 were from Ohio. Most of the others, 987, were from Kentucky.

Part of the reason for the inflow: Indiana’s rules on take- home doses are more lenient than those in Kentucky or Ohio, said Vidya Kora, a past president of the Indiana State Medical Association. Kora, a LaPorte County commissioner and former coroner, has called for turning all methadone clinic operations over to non-profit agencies.

While Indiana adopted legislation in 2008 aimed at mandating marijuana testing for methadone patients, creating a central registry of patients and decreasing the maximum number of take-home doses to 14 from 30, the rules are still less stringent than others, said state Senator Ron Grooms, a Republican whose southern Indiana district includes a CRC clinic in Jeffersonville.

Apparently using marijuana is a problem for methadone patients.  Do they test for beer and bourbon?  For according to marijuana proponents smoking marijuana is no different from drinking beer or bourbon.

When the Netherlands decriminalized marijuana one of the unintended consequences was the drug tourism that it attracted.  And the crime.  Causing them to later demand proof of residency before buying marijuana in their coffee shops.  The more potent marijuana with higher levels of THC has caused further unintended consequences.  Which they want to prevent the sale of.  Complicating their drug policies.  Something Colorado and Washington will have to deal with.  And the states that are in close proximity to them.

If they kept all drugs illegal there would probably be at least one child less that experiments with marijuana.  And moves on to a heroin addiction and a methadone detoxification.  Shouldn’t we do this?  Even if it only saves one child?

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The UFCW wants to unionize Workers at Medical Marijuana Pot Shops

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 9th, 2013

Week in Review

The unions have always advertised that union made was better made.  Because it was safer.  And of higher quality.  For unions look out for the people.  They protect our kids in school.  And demand high safety standards in industry.  They even have a zero tolerance policy on drug use in the workplace.  Large union contracts on big construction projects have mandatory drug testing to hire in.  And have random-random drug tests monthly.  Once a month on some random day at some random time they call workers in to pee in a cup for testing.  That’s how committed the unions are in combating drug use.  So you never would have expected to see something like this (see Insight: Shrinking U.S. labor unions see relief in marijuana industry by Samuel P. Jacobs and Alex Dobuzinskis posted 2/6/2013 on Reuters).

During the last few years, unions, led by the UFCW [United Food and Commercial Workers union], have played an increasingly significant role in campaigns to allow medical marijuana, now legal in California, 17 other states and Washington, D.C…

Union officials acknowledge that their support stems partly from the idea that the marijuana industry could create hundreds of thousands of members at a time when overall union membership is shrinking…

Industry advocates acknowledge that the legal marijuana industry’s potential to produce jobs is difficult to project. One reason: uncertainty over how the U.S. government will deal with an industry whose product is illegal under federal law but increasingly accepted by state laws.

Since Colorado and Washington state voted to legalize marijuana on November 6, President Barack Obama has said his administration will not pursue recreational pot users in those states.

This is interesting.  If the states don’t like a federal law they just ignore it.  If Colorado and Washington can simply ignore a federal law they don’t like then every state that doesn’t like Obamacare should be able to ignore it, too.  If the unions protest states that ignore Obamacare (the unions endorsed Obamacare) and insist that they follow federal law then so should Colorado and Washington.  Who should immediately re-criminalize marijuana under state law.  To match federal law.

By joining a union, marijuana workers could have more sway in pressing for higher pay and benefits such as healthcare…

The retailers there say they are conflicted – grateful for the legitimacy that labor’s involvement could bring their businesses, but worried that the support could undermine the already shaky financial footing of their small operations.

One marijuana business owner in Denver said he considered aligning with the UFCW but eventually backed away. He said he was worried that having a union shop would hurt the value of his business by driving up employment costs…

Eventually, [UFCW’s Rush] helped to persuade enough labor leaders that the same union that organized Hostess bakery workers could represent people who made pot brownies.

High union labor costs just bankrupted Hostess and put them out of business.  So, yeah, marijuana retailers are worried about higher labor costs if their shops unionize.  There’s a reason why there is so little union membership today.  It is very difficult for a business to stay in business with those high union costs.  The very costs that bankrupted General Motors and Chrysler requiring the government bailout.  If they unionize their costs will go up.  As will their prices.  Giving the non-unionized shops a price advantage.  As well as the drug dealer on the street.

In Los Angeles, UFCW Local 770 is pushing a ballot measure that would set zoning and safety standards for medical pot dispensaries. For years, police and residents have complained about the impact that less-than-reputable medical marijuana dispensaries have on some neighborhoods.

Dispensary workers and owners who have aligned themselves with the union say that some competitors undermine prices and security by flouting labor laws and avoiding taxes.

Decriminalizing marijuana is not the panacea they think it is.  First of all no one wants what drugs attract.  Addicts.  And crime.  Shutting down the nonunion shops won’t take care of that problem.  Because the higher prices at the ‘reputable’ drug retailers will only broaden the market for the drug dealers on the street.  Who are also nonunion.  And can sell their marijuana for less than a pot shop with high union labor costs.

Medical marijuana retailers have provided more than medical marijuana.  People wanting marijuana for recreational use had no problem getting a doctor’s prescription.  Including people who bought marijuana and resold it to kids.  Higher retailer prices at ‘reputable’ pot shops are not going to change that.  It will only raise the street value of marijuana.  Making for a prosperous black market.

The UFCW is obviously backing and lobbying for full decriminalization.  So their members can prosper from a rise in drug use.  And addiction.  It is interesting how the Left attacks cigarette smoking.  Even suing Big Tobacco for the harm their addictive product has done to those who smoke.  Yet as evil as cigarette smoking is there is no such outrage over marijuana smoking.  Which they say is not only harmless but medicinal.  Talk about your double standards.

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Grizzly Child Murders not connected to Drug Crime but to Drug Use

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 8th, 2012

Week in Review

One argument for the decriminalization of drugs is that it will reduce violent crime.  Because a lot of violent crime is connected to the illicit drug trade.  So decriminalizing drugs would make more crime-free cities.  That would be a good thing.  A very good thing.  But is there a downside to decriminalizing drugs?  For if people want to get high in their own house isn’t that a victimless crime to begin with?  And by dropping the ‘crime’ from ‘victimless crime’ drug use would just be victimless, yes?  So how could anything be bad that has no victims?  I mean, it’s not like we’re hurting children when adults use drugs (see Two Grisly Child Murders Prompt PCP Crackdown in New Jersey by CHRISTINA NG posted 9/7/2012 on ABC News).

Authorities in New Jersey are cracking down on PCP, a hallucinogenic drug that has been involved in two grisly murders of children in less than two weeks in the crime-ridden city of Camden, N.J…

“Violent behavior with PCP, that’s nothing new,” Police Chief Scott Thomson said. “It’s happening on a daily basis in Philadelphia and urban centers all over the country. But what has us concerned is the attacks on small children…Is something being added [to the PCP]..?”

Osvaldo Rivera, 31, told police that he smoked “wet,” a combination of PCP and pot before he allegedly slit the throats of a 6-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister in the middle of the night in their Camden, N.J., home on Sept. 2…

On Aug. 22, authorities believe Chevonne Thomas was smoking wet before beheading her 2-year-old son Zahree in Camden…

“You’ve got paranoia, anxiety, delusional behavior, hallucinations and then you add to that a disconnect between the mind and body so the person doesn’t feel pain and can behave as if they have superhuman strength,” Jason Laughlin, spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, told ABCNews.com. “The consequences can be dire…”

The effect of the drug mimics the effects of schizophrenia, including hallucinations, extreme stress, delusions and disordered thinking, according to NIDA…

PCP can even do permanent damage.

“If somebody is vulnerable, it would be possible for somebody to smoke it once or twice and develop psychosis that could last months, years or could not be resolved,” Galynker said. “It makes people psychotic and I don’t understand why anyone would ever use it.”

Apparently we are hurting children when adults use drugs.  Sometimes through neglect.  Sometimes by setting a bad example that draws them into the world of drug use at a young age.  And sometimes by killing them.  The people that do are obviously out of their right minds.  And it is probable that their drug use put them out of their right mind.  Which is a salient point.  These children did not die because of the criminal activity associated with these drugs.  They died because of the effects of taking these drugs.  Which would have happened even if these drugs weren’t illegal.  And if some people did this after using drugs it is likely that more people will do these things when there are more people taking drugs.  Which would probably happen if we decriminalize them.

If one smoked a combination of PCP and pot one would have to assume that one smoked marijuana at one time without PCP.  So one drug was probably a gateway to the other drug.  Now with people saying marijuana is so harmless it is probably less harmless than PCP.  And therefore the gateway drug to PCP.  One could even go further to suggest that without ever having used the gateway drug (marijuana) that it is unlikely that someone would experiment with drugs for the first time with something as powerful as PCP.

So there are strong arguments against decriminalizing drugs.  Of course some will counter that it’s not right to condemn all drug users because of the actions of a few.  We don’t bring back prohibition because some drunks beat their wives or cause a fatal car accidents.  Which is a good point.  But here’s a better point.  Alcohol can make you a stupid drunk.  But it won’t make you psychotic.  And when you’re drunk out of your mind you don’t get superhuman strength.  Often times you actually regress to childhood and travel on your hands and knees. So there is a difference between being falling-down drunk and slashing throat-high on PCP.  One is clearly more dangerous than the other.  Finally, who are the people who most want to decriminalize drugs?  Apart from the addicts?  The same people we make wait until they are 21 to drink.  Teenagers and young adults who have a propensity to make bad decisions.  So you know that this is yet one more bad decision from those of us who are least responsible.

Interestingly, we have raised the drinking age for teenagers and young adults but not the voting age.  In fact, there are some who want to lower the voting age further.  Those on the Left, of course.  Who need more people who don’t know any better to vote for them.  Because the older and more responsible people get the more they tend to vote conservative.  Just an interesting side note.  Perhaps we should counter their argument (to lower the voting age) with a simple question.  Do they also want to lower the drinking age?  If not, why not?  It would be entertaining to hear them tap-dance their way around that answer.

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Teens who Smoke a lot of Marijuana suffer Permanent Brain Damage

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 1st, 2012

Week in Review

A new study is in.  And the conclusion is that marijuana use is bad.  Especially if you’re a teen (see Teen pot use linked to later declines in IQ by MALCOLM RITTER and NICK PERRY posted 8/27/2012 on the Associated Press).

Teens who routinely smoke marijuana risk a long-term drop in their IQ, a new study suggests…

Study participants from New Zealand were tested for IQ at age 13, likely before any significant marijuana use, and again at age 38. The mental decline between those two ages was seen only in those who started regularly smoking pot before age 18…

Pot is the most popular illegal drug in the world, with somewhere between 119 million and 224 million users between the ages of 15 and 64 as of 2010, the United Nations reported. Within the United States, 23 percent of high school students said they’d recently smoked marijuana, making it more popular than cigarettes, the federal government reported in June.

More popular than cigarettes?  Funny thing about a marijuana joint.  It doesn’t have a filter.  Smoking a joint is like smoking a Camel unfiltered cigarette.  Like people smoked once upon a time.  When smokers were smokers.  And smoked hardcore.  But now there is a war on smoking.  Something the Left endorses.  Yet those on the Left are generally in favor of decriminalizing drugs.  Especially marijuana.  The Left took Joe Camel off cigarette advertising because it was encouraging kids to start smoking.  So they got addicted to cigarettes.  They even sued Big tobacco.  But kids smoke more marijuana than cigarettes.  Getting more cancer-causing smoke in their lungs from illegal marijuana than from legal tobacco.  So while the Left plays nanny by trying to get cigarettes away from us they are trying to put kids at more risk.  For if marijuana is decriminalized it will be much easier for kids to smoke it.  Putting them at greater risk of lung cancer.  As well as that mental decline.  Guess the Left doesn’t like kids.

Young people “don’t think it’s risky,” said Staci Gruber, a researcher at the Harvard-affiliated MacLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. Gruber, who didn’t participate in the new work, said the idea that marijuana harms the adolescent brain is “something we believe is very likely,” and the new finding of IQ declines warrants further investigation…

The study drew on survey data from more than 1,000 people in New Zealand, everybody born in the town of Dunedin during a year-long span ending in 1973. In addition to IQ tests, they were interviewed five times between ages 18 and 38, including questions related to their marijuana use.

At age 18, 52 participants indicated they had become dependent on marijuana, meaning that they continued to use it despite its causing significant health, social or legal problems. Ninety-two others reported dependence starting at a later age.

Researchers compared their IQ scores at age 13 to the score at age 38 and found a drop only in those who had become dependent by 18…

Among participants who’d been dependent at 18 and in at least one later survey, quitting didn’t remove the problem. IQ declines showed up even if they’d largely or entirely quit using pot at age 38, analysis showed…

The researchers also surveyed people who knew the study participants well at age 38. They found that the more often participants were rated as marijuana-dependent in the surveys over their lifetimes, the more memory and attention problems were noticed by their acquaintances over the previous year.

I think we all know someone who was dependent on marijuana when he or she was a kid.  One of my best friends was your classic stoner in junior high school.  He smoked and partied through junior high and part way through high school.  When he had the first of five kids.  And then dropped out.  Got a job.  Became a Republican.  And a responsible parent.  Both he and his wife.  Who remained together to raise all five kids.  And struggled to counteract the liberal education of their children when they got home from school.

Sometimes during a conversation my friend would stop mid-conversation, cock his head and stare blankly as he tried to remember what he was saying.  Then he laughed and joked about all the brain cells he destroyed when he was a kid.  Wishing he could have them back.  I didn’t know him before the brain damage.  But he sure was a good guy after the brain damage.  I always wonder what he might have done if he and cannabis never crossed paths.  Engineer?  Physicist?  Doctor?  President?  Who knows what he may have contributed had it not been for his introduction to cannabis.  I never asked but I wonder about that first time.  Was it peer pressure?  Was it a funny movie with a lovable stoner character?  Or did he have a friend with a dad who smoked pot?  It was something.  And whatever it was it changed his life forever.

And I wonder what might have been with all those other stoners out there.  What they might have done had they not descended into drug use.  Which makes the drug debate a difficult one.  Much violent crime traces back to illegal drug trafficking.  So decriminalizing drugs would go a long way to reduce that crime.  However, this isn’t the same as repealing prohibition.  Sure, if you drink enough you can kill yourself.  And abuse your family.  You can even get a liver transplant.  But you can never recover your damaged brain cells.  Once they’re gone they’re gone.  And there’s no going back to who you were.

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LESSONS LEARNED #37: “The Decriminalization of Drugs. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 28th, 2010

Drugs are Killing Some of our Kids’ Cool Celebrity Role Models…and Some of Our Kids

Kids going through adolescence look up to role models.  Celebrity role models who look cool.  So they can aspire to that level of cool.  To have more friends.  Be popular.  To be popular with kids of the opposite sex.  And nothing does that like behaving like a celebrity.  Dressing like them.  Smoking like them (Joe Camel didn’t make kids smoke; movie stars and musicians did).  Having sex like them (in public like Alanis Morissette sings about in You Oughta Know).  And getting high like them.

Black Sabbath fired their front man Ozzy Osborne for his excessive drug use.  Steven Adler was fired from Guns n’ Roses for his excessive drug use.  Adler used the same drug cocktail that killed John Belushi, Chris Farley, River Phoenix and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to name a few.  One of Adler’s speedballs, though, gave him a stroke and left him with a speech impediment.  Osborne?  It’s hard to see or hear him and not think ‘drugs’.  Keith Richards, too.  (Some claim that it’s a miracle that either has lived so long.)  Amy Winehouse’ irregular heart beat resulted from a long use of cocaine.  John Entwistle died from a cocaine-induced heart attack.  Ol’ Dirty Bastard died from a cocaine & prescription drug induced heart attack.  Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of a prescription drug cocktail (oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine).  Bradley Nowell died from a heroin overdose just before Sublime’s major label album debut (which included three hits).  Danella Westbrooke lost the cartilage in her nose (and her profile) due to the massive amounts of cocaine she sniffed.  And there are a host of other celebrities whose past drug use is catching up to them in their old age.  Such as David Crosby’s liver disease.  His liver transplant resulted from his many years of drug abuse.

These are some expensive black market drugs.  But this isn’t a problem if you have a lot of money.  If these drugs were decriminalized, they would be cheaper.  And much more plentiful.  Meaning that they wouldn’t be limited to the rich and famous.  If they were less expensive, kids starting their drug exploration wouldn’t have to limit their exploration to the less expensive stuff (stealing from their parents’ medicine cabinet, sniffing butane, smoking marijuana, etc.).  They could broaden their horizon.  And why not?  They’re going to do it anyway.  And not everyone becomes an addict.  Or dies.

The British East Indian Company Used Indian Opium to Fix Their Balance of Trade with China

In the 19th century, mercantilism ruled.  It was all about balance of trade.  Nations wanted to export their goods.  And import gold and silver that paid for those goods.  Both Great Britain and China pursued these policies.  This became a problem for Great Britain whose people grew very fond of Chinese silk and porcelain and other Chinese exotic goods.  But the Chinese weren’t buying anything British.  Great Britain was importing more than she was exporting to China.  This meant there was a net silver flow from Great Britain to China.  And this wasn’t good mercantilism.  For the British.  It was very good mercantilism for the Chinese.  The British needed something to sell to the Chinese.  Something that only they could sell so the Chinese would have no choice but to buy from Great Britain.  And the British East India Company had just the thing.  Indian opium.

And it worked.  It reversed the balance of trade.  Silver was leaving China at an alarming rate.  But it was also turning the majority of Chinese males near the coastal cities into junkies.  Business suffered.  The civil service suffered.  With less available to buy the standard of living fell.  A dysfunctional civil service compounded that problem.  Rampant opium use was undermining Confucian values.  The Chinese begged the British to destroy the Indian poppy fields.  The British replied that, with the huge Chinese demand for opium, if they didn’t sell it, someone else would.  It would only cost the British their lucrative trade.  It wouldn’t solve the Chinese opium addiction problem.

Well, that led to war.  Two of them.  The Opium Wars.  Neither of which ended well for the Chinese.  They lost a lot.  Chinese coastal cities became virtually British.  Hong Kong became British.  Trade favored the British and other foreign nationals.  It led to much bitterness and resentment.  And to the Boxer Rebellion in 1898 to throw the imperialists out of China.  Which didn’t work all that well either.  But the British did help the Chinese to break their opium addiction.  If the Chinese worked from within to reduce consumption, the British would cut back on their opium importations.  Opium use declined in China.  As did opium imports.  With the decline in consumption, no new sources of opium rushed to fill an unmet demand.

The Americans and the Russians to Collaborate over Afghanistan’s Poppy Fields, The Netherlands Making their Legalized Marijuana less Legal

Well, there are still poppy fields in Southwest Asia.  And a high demand for heroin not too far away.  In Russia.  And it’s killing them.  Literally.   Some tens of thousands die each year from overdoses.  The collateral damage (broken families, lost jobs, the spread of AIDS from shared needles, neglected children, etc.) from drug addiction probably touches 10 times that number.  And the drug trade crime kills who knows how many more.  From the poppy fields in Afghanistan through the Central Asian states into Russia herself, there is an explosion of violence for this lucrative drug trade.  How bad is it?  Russia may return to Afghanistan to help the Americans in eradicating these poppy fields and shutting down the drug laboratories.  (For those who do not know, the Russian/Soviet war in Afghanistan was Russia’s Vietnam War.  And, let us not forget that both of these wars became proxy wars between America and the former Soviet Union.  So America and Russia working together in Afghanistan is a big thing).

Russia is even advising America against the ballot initiative in California to legalize marijuana.  Viktor Ivanov, Russia’s top drug official, went to Los Angeles to campaign against the ballot proposal.  He warned that legalizing marijuana will start a downward spiral into drug addiction.  We can understand heroin.  But marijuana?  A soft drug?  The Netherlands have long had legalized marijuana there.  It works there.  Why not in California?

Well, Netherland has had its problems with its marijuana coffee shops and cafes.  There’s been trouble in their border areas.  Tourists coming in just to get high.  And a lot of people have been going there.  Business is booming.  High demand.  Which have brought in crime as people vie to supply that demand.  There have been problems with school kids so they’ve banned these coffee shops/cafes within certain distances of schools.  And they’ve been selling a more potent cannabis, which is knocking the casual user on their ass.  Or impairing their motor skills.  And, with the rising amount of trouble from the drug tourists, they’re restricting sale to Dutch citizens only.  One other note.  Drug enforcement has been stepped up at Schiphol airport.  Why?  To counter a rising cocaine traffic coming in from the Caribbean. 

Drugs, Drug Wars and the War on Drugs Take their Toll as they Kill and Destroy

Kids are experimenting with drugs.  They’ll start with the softer stuff.  Like in the Netherlands.  But they’ll probably move on to something more potent.  Like in the Netherlands.  There appears to be a progression.  From less dangerous drugs to more dangerous drugs.  You can bet that John Belushi, Chris Farley, River Phoenix and Jean-Michel Basquiat, et al, started their drug use with something less dangerous than cocaine-heroin speedballs.  And look at them now.  Of course you can’t because their dead and buried.  But you get the point.

Epidemic use in China destroyed a millennium-old culture.  Ended a dynasty.  Caused multiple wars.  They finally kicked the habit.  With the help of the British (who helped give them the problem in the first place).  But the poppy fields just found new users.  In Russia.  And elsewhere.  It’s so bad that former enemies are joining forces on a former battleground to fight a new common enemy.  And the Russians are warning Californians not to legalize marijuana.  We’ve certainly come a long way from the days of the Cold War where the Soviets would have helped that initiative pass to help bring down their one-time enemy.

Drugs are a problem.  A big problem.  They kill and destroy.  Drug wars kill and destroy.  As does the war on drugs.  Damned if you do.  Damned if you don’t.  So what to do?  Well, imagine two worlds.  One where drugs are plentiful and cheap.  And one where no one uses drugs.  Which world you’d rather live in?  Which world do you want your children to live in?  I thought so.  And there’s your answer.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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