Pubdate: Tue, 06 Mar 2001
Source: Frederick News Post (MD)
Copyright: 2001 Great Southern Printing and Manufacturing Company
Address: 200 East Patrick Street, PO Box 578, Frederick, MD 21705-0578
Fax: 301-662-8299
Author: Jim White
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


In her Feb. 26 letter ("Pot not that bad?"), Cassie Hartzell states that 
marijuana is a gateway drug that destroyed her friend's life. She begins 
with, "I know someone who started out drinking, then using marijuana."

I'm certain that she was referring to alcohol when she says "drinking," and 
if that is true, then she has ignored the fundamental principal of the 
gateway theory.

The National Institute on Medicine recognizes that alcohol and tobacco are 
the gateway drugs, or at least, the drugs most often used first by young 
people. Ms. Hartzell admits trying marijuana, but not moving on to harder 
drugs. She, and the vast majority of people like her, are proof that the 
gateway theory is scientifically invalid.

While there are people like Ms. Hartzell's friend who aren't capable of 
self control where drugs are concerned, he is in the minority. If he 
weren't, 70 percent of Americans would be where he is today.

When it comes to alcohol, we don't focus on arresting casual, responsible 
drinkers, we focus our efforts on those who have become addicts, just as we 
should with other drugs.

We may one day be able to stop the rain from falling, but until then we 
should concentrate our resources on fixing the roof. Otherwise, we're 
simply all wet.

JIM WHITE Oregon, Ohio
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