Pubdate: Sun, 3 Jan 2010
Source: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Copyright: 2010 The Daily Herald Company
Author: Stephen Young


While I sympathize with parents who have lost children to heroin, the
billboard at the center of the story suggesting that cannabis is a
necessary precursor to heroin experimentation is dangerous and
counterproductive to these parents' cause. Two of the central flaws of
the drug war are the mistaken beliefs that all illegal drugs are
equally dangerous and that one necessarily leads to another. Neither
one of these beliefs have any basis in fact.

Indeed, after being bombarded with misleading and inaccurate hype
about cannabis, which is easily refuted by many reputable Internet
sources, as well as personal experience, it's no surprise that young
people fail to take official warnings about riskier drugs seriously.
But, those who make their make their living off the drug war know that
cannabis is their bread and butter.

If cannabis were taken off the list of illegal drugs (as it should be
since it causes much less harm to individuals compared to legal drugs
like alcohol), anti-drug budgets would be slashed. To be honest about
cannabis is a risk to job security.

Unfortunately, bereaved parents as well as professional journalists
seem more interested in getting an emotional response instead of
trying to realistically deal with these problems. Anyone, particularly
journalists, who really wants kids to avoid heroin needs to be honest
about cannabis.

Stephen Young

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