Pubdate: Wed, 26 Apr 2006
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2006 The New York Times Company
Author: Peter Provet


To the Editor:

As a treatment provider, I support the Food and Drug Administration's
dismissal of medical benefit from marijuana.

Regardless of the heated political debate that swirls around this
issue, the fact remains that despite the Institute of Medicine's claim
to the contrary, for people vulnerable to addictive disease, marijuana
is a gateway drug that leads to the use of more dangerous drugs like
cocaine and heroin.

When residents in treatment at Odyssey House (more than 1,000 every
day) are asked about their drug history, most adults say it began with
marijuana, and virtually all teenagers report marijuana as their
primary drug of abuse.

Not everyone who smokes marijuana will necessarily become an addict.
But why open the gate to increased use for the sake of unproven
medical benefits when we already know the harm that marijuana inflicts
on millions of Americans?

Peter Provet

President, Odyssey House

New York, April 21, 2006
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