Pubdate: Tue, 24 Sep 2002
Source: Omaha World-Herald (NE)
Copyright: 2002 Omaha World-Herald Company
Author: Susie Dugan


Two recent stories on marijuana (Sept. 18 World-Herald) should cause 
responsible citizens great alarm.

The first story reported the start of a national media campaign to address 
the dramatic increase in childhood use of this dangerous, addictive drug. 
One in five American eighth-graders has tried marijuana. Children in the 
Omaha area are using this drug at the same shocking rate. Research has long 
noted that adolescents' use of drugs increases as their perception of harm 

Thus, the second story on marijuana that day helps explain why today's 
children think marijuana can't hurt them and is "no big deal." That story 
reported on the city leaders of Santa Cruz, Calif., giving away marijuana 
as "medicine."

Santa Cruz's promotion of marijuana is just one part of a 
multimillion-dollar movement aimed at legalizing and normalizing marijuana. 
The multifaceted campaign is working well. Nine states have legalized 
marijuana as "medicine." Other states are voting to relax marijuana laws, 
and Nevada voters will decide in November whether to allow legal possession 
of up to three ounces of marijuana.

Children aren't hearing the truth that smoked marijuana is not a safe 
"medicine." In fact, marijuana can attack the immune system and make sick 
people sicker. Adults who care about children must fight this growing 
pro-marijuana movement or face the loss of an entire generation of children 
to this insidious drug.

Susie Dugan, Omaha

Executive director, PRIDE-Omaha, Inc.
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