Pubdate: Tue, 18 Feb 2003
Source: Massachusetts Daily Collegian (MA Edu)
Copyright: 2003 Daily Collegian
Contact: 413-545-1592
Note: Publication of University of Massachusetts
Author:  Allison Leshefsky, Collegian Columnist


The time has come for an overwhelming majority of college students who 
smoke marijuana to consider the implications. Our drug of choice has once 
again been blamed for society's injustice. Apparently, not only does 
marijuana help support terrorism, it is also responsible for teenage car 
accidents, lack of gun control, and pregnancy.

All of this is according to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, who 
has recently purchased millions of dollars in cable advertising aimed at 
marijuana use. As college students, it was not long ago when we became 
proud D.A.R.E. graduates and watched advertisements with an egg in a frying 
pan referring to our brain on drugs. But as Bob Dylan puts it, "The times 
they are a changin'."

Nowadays, advertisements have evolved to become graphic depictions of 
teenage automobile accidents, homicide, and adolescent pregnancy due to 
marijuana use. But how worthy are these representations? The Core 
Institute, a non-profit organization that promotes education for drug 
prevention, conducted a 2000 survey on American campuses. Statistics showed 
that 84.1% of students throughout the country have admitted to using 
alcohol within the year prior to completing the survey. This is in 
comparison to 33.6% of students that have used marijuana.

According to the Community Alcohol Information Program of New Hampshire, 
Over 250,000 people have died in alcohol related accidents in the past 10 
years. Presently 25,000 people are killed each year in alcohol related 
accidents, 500 people are killed each week in alcohol related accidents, 71 
people are killed each day in alcohol related accidents. One American life 
is lost every 20 minutes in alcohol related auto crashes. It is estimated 
that one out of every two Americans will be involved in an alcohol related 
accident in his or her lifetime.

But instead of focusing on the real issue at hand, The Partnership for a 
Drug-Free America has decided to use marijuana as a scapegoat for society's 
problems, instead of alcohol. As if this doesn't sound extreme, the 
Partnership for a Drug-Free America offers an interesting alternative to 
marijuana. Red meat. This alternative is suggested in one of its print 
advertisements, featuring a photo of a burger joint the caption, "This kind 
of joint can help prevent marijuana use by your kids."

Meanwhile, Judge Francis L. Young of the Drug Enforcement Administration 
claims that one would have to smoke 1,500 pounds of marijuana (20,000 to 
40,000 joints) within about 15 minutes to overdose on the drug. Marijuana 
has never been proven to have directly caused any death.

The only purpose these new commercials serve is the meaningless 
implementation of fear in the minds of young adults. The effect of this is 
entertainment for those who choose to smoke marijuana. Students must resume 
their activities within the happy smoke-filled Amherst valley and bear in 
mind that the true injustice lies within governmental corruption of our 
nation's priorities.

Allison Leshefsky is a Collegian Columnist. 
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