Pubdate: Fri, 4 Dec 2009
Source: DrugSense Weekly (DSW)
Section: Feature Article
Author: Nicolas Eyle
Note: Nicolas Eyle is Executive Director or ReconsiDer. This piece 
first appeared at the organization's web site:


How do you create a problem where none exists? Not a commonly asked 
question, true, but our government has been touting the dangers of 
marijuana for decades and that is getting harder and harder in the 
face of growing mountains of evidence to the contrary. Here's one 
tact they've taken recently.

AllTranz, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company based in 
Lexington, KY.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) and National 
Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) just have given AllTranz a $4 
million grant to develop a way to administer marijuana through the 
skin, something akin to a nicotine patch to aid the growing number of 
marijuana addicts trying to get off the stuff. "What growing number 
of marijuana addicts?" you ask.  If you are the federal government 
trying desperately to perpetuate their ill-conceived prohibition of 
marijuana you can point to the rapidly-growing number of marijuana 
users seeking treatment for their problem.

NIDA director Nora Volkow says the agency "is interested in exploring 
the role of transdermal THC delivery as an innovative way to treat 
marijuana withdrawal symptoms and dependence.  This is especially 
relevant to our efforts to fill a critical gap in available 
treatments for the many Americans struggling with marijuana-related 
disorders and their detrimental medical and social consequences." So 
how many marijuana addicted Americans are there? According the NIH 
there are about a million of them! According to the U.S. Department 
of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Applied Studies, 
Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there 
are actually 287,933. A considerably smaller number but still not 
insignificant. were it true.

The standard definition of addiction in the DSM IV is "the state of 
being psychologically and physiologically dependent on a drug". Well 
according to SAMHSA of that 287,933 who listed marijuana dependence 
as the primary reason for admission to treatment 37% hadn't used 
marijuana in the 30 days prior to their admission. Another 16 percent 
of those admitted said they'd only used three times or less in the 
month prior to their admission. Doesn't really sound like these folks 
were particularly psychologically and physiologically dependent on marijuana.

So once again we ask "where are these marijuana addicts coming from?" 
SAMHSA statistics show 6 out of 10 people admitted to treatment for 
marijuana are referred to through the criminal justice system.  They 
are given a choice . go to treatment or go to jail. SAMHSA's report 
says "In 2007, the criminal justice system was the largest single 
source of referrals to the substance abuse treatment system.  [T]he 
majority of these referrals were from parole and probation offices."

So your tax dollars were spent, elected officials from Kentucky can 
get credit for creating jobs at AllTranz, (and probably contributions 
from AllTranz's executives), NIDA gets credit for working to solve a 
growing problem which is, after all, what the National Institute of 
Health is supposed to do, so where is the harm?

For starters several thousand people have been forced to waste a 
substantial part of their lives going through "treatment" for a non- 
existent addiction.  Most will also get criminal drug possession 
charges on their records following them for life, impeding their 
chances of finding jobs or money to go to school. The myth of 
marijuana addiction is reinforced as these inflated numbers go 
unquestioned by the media...  so much for the President's promise... 
"I'll change the posture of our federal government from being one of 
the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that 
embraces science and technology." The lies being propagated to 
preserve marijuana prohibition now rival those told to introduce it.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake