Pubdate: Tue, 04 Dec 2001
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2001 San Francisco Examiner
Author: Redford Givens


Letter writer Nicole Dotto has been deceived by "Reefer Madness" propaganda 
("Marijuana still gateway drug," Examiner letters, Nov. 29).

The real-world example of legal marijuana in the Netherlands shows that 
hard drug use -- heroin and cocaine addiction -- declined substantially 
after the Dutch made marijuana available for adult use in the 1970s.

Since liberalizing their marijuana laws, the average age of opiate addicts 
in the Netherlands rose from 26.8 years in 1978 to 37 years in 1998. The 
number of opiate addicts in Amsterdam under 22 years of age has fallen from 
14.4 percent in 1981 to 1.2 percent in 1998.

The number of heroin and cocaine addicts in Holland has dropped by one 
third, to 1.6 per 1,000 people. The Dutch have 2.4 drug-related deaths per 
million compared with 37 drug deaths per million in the United States.

The addict population in Holland is growing older because new recruits to 
habit-forming drugs are at all-time lows.

If marijuana were a gateway drug, one would have expected use of hard drugs 
in Holland to skyrocket, not drop to the lowest levels in the world.

The "gateway" myth is just another counterproductive drug-crusader lie, 
because for every 104 people who have used marijuana, there is only one 
regular user of cocaine and less than one heroin addict. (Source: National 
Household Survey on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human 
Services, 1997.)

Redford Givens

The City
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