Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 2015
Source: Morning Star, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 The Morning Star
Author: R. Payne


In reply to Colin Mayes' Drug use a concern, I read with interest your
comments on drug use.

Yes, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse states, in a study
released April 2006, that the cost of substance abuse to be $3.8 billion.

But you conveniently left out the breakdown. Tobacco is $17 billion
(42.7 per cent), alcohol is $14.6 billion (36.6 per cent) and all
illegal drugs are $8.2 billion (20.7 per cent).

That tells me that 89.3 per cent of that cost is taken up by alcohol
and tobacco, whereas you make it seem like illegal drug abuse is the
main cost.

According to new research by the Harvard Medical School and the VA
Boston Healthcare System, a family history of schizophrenia is the
underlying basis for schizophrenia, not cannabis use.

Former surgeon general Jocelyn Elders characterized marijuana
succinctly on CNN while declaring her support for legalization:
"Marijuana is not physically addictive. Holland began liberalizing its
marijuana laws in part to close the so-called gateway effect, and now
the country has fewer young pot smokers that move to harder drugs
compared to other nations (from Marijuana as a gateway drug; The myth
that will not die)."

The University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, in a
fact sheet, says, several well-designed and large-scale studies,
including one in Washington State, have failed to find any increased
risk of lung or upper airway cancer in people who have smoked marijuana.

The indicators go to tobacco as the culprit. Marijuana smoking does
appear to increase cough, sputum production, airway inflammation, and
wheeze. As for costs to the legal system, about 80 per cent of cases
tying up the system are due to possession charges.

A quick check of the countries that have legalized pot have found
reductions in drug use as well as a decrease in court costs.

R. Payne

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