Pubdate: Wed, 14 Jan 2004
Source: Scarborough Mirror, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Scarborough Mirror
Author: Bruce Symington
Bookmark: (Youth)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Re: 'To toke or not to toke, that is the question,' Teenbeat, Jan. 7.
I was dismayed to read the Teenbeat column because it repeated the 
oft-disproved lie of the gateway theory.

The theory is that cannabis use leads to hard drugs. The truth is
readily available and even if the facts are unavailable, a little
logic and thought on the part of the writer would have shown the
gateway theory for the pack of lies it is.

About 50 per cent of young people have tried cannabis. About 0.2 per
cent of the population uses hard drugs. If the gateway theory was
true, many more would progress. That they do not is the obvious
refutation of the lie.

A more realistic use of the midway analogy would be this: children are
told that all such activities are unsafe. The child tries the Swing of
the Century and discovers that there is little or no danger.

Child then tries the other rides, because child no longer believes
what parents have told him and finds some danger, but feels it is not
too much. Child then tries extreme, very unsafe activities and thereby
puts self in danger.

When the child tries pot and discovers the police, parents, teachers
and other authority figures have been exaggerating, if not lying to
the child, the child does not believe anything they are told and will
try other, possibly more harmful drugs.

It is the lie and the fact the unregulated market puts them in touch
with hard drugs through the neighbourhood dealer, which is the source
of the gateway. Parents should tell their kids the truth. Always.
Without fail. Then they have a right to expect the kids to believe
them. Otherwise, they are just asking for trouble.

Bruce Symington,

Medicine Hat, Alberta
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