Pubdate: Mon, 09 Jun 2003
Source: Sun Herald (MS)
Copyright: 2003, The Sun Herald
Author: Opal Hammon


The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy recently launched a 
newspaper ad campaign purporting to warn parents of the dangers of youth 
marijuana use. These ads, which cost taxpayers over $150 million per year, 
are little more than scare tactics, spreading misinformation and distortions.

For instance, the ads claim that more teenagers seek treatment for 
marijuana than for all other drugs combined. This statement, while true, is 
disingenuous at best: According to U.S. government statistics, most teens 
in treatment for "marijuana abuse" are not in treatment because they were 
found to be addicted, but because they were arrested and given a choice of 
treatment or jail.

I find this a startling trend in our nation's social system. In fact, one 
in four teens will have a felony drug conviction on their permanent record 
as adults. This means that a quarter of our work force will not be able to 
find productive work due to the war on people who use drugs.

The government has no business using tax money to spread distorted 
information about marijuana. Exaggerating the harmful effects of marijuana 
does nothing to prevent or reduce teen marijuana use. Such a tactic can 
only backfire, causing teens to lose trust in everything authority tells them.
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