Pubdate: Fri, 25 Mar 2016
Source: Times-Picayune, The (New Orleans, LA)
Copyright: 2016 The Times-Picayune
Author: Suzanne Rusovich


A community can get a federal grant to mentor teens about drug use, 
but our government refuses to uphold the federal law stating that 
marijuana is a Schedule I narcotic and therefore is illegal. Thus 
many states are now practicing unregulated pharmacology in their 
sales of marijuana. These states are seeing increases in vehicular 
accidents and deaths, calls to poison control, arrests for use in 
schools, teen admissions to treatment centers and hospital emergency 

New Orleans City Council just reduced the penalties of simple 
possession of marijuana to a fine, which to the legalization movement 
is a victory. Louisiana's Legislature is now offering us "medical 
marijuana," of which there is no such thing. The FDA, however, has 
approved Cesamet, Marinol and soon Epidiolex for various epilepsy 
syndromes. These drugs have passed through an effective and rigorous 
scientific process unlike what will be produced in select Louisiana pharmacies.

Why this rush to legalize this mind-altering drug targeted at our 
youth with sales of pot tarts, pot rings and suckers? There is a sad 
lack of understanding by our citizenry of the science that glaringly 
demonstrates the grave harm that comes with the commercialization of 
marijuana. The science says that pot will permanently change the way 
the brain works in an individual under age 25 whose brain is not 
fully developed. The science shows us what addiction does to the 
brain of an adult. But we as a society have not come to terms with 
the basic concepts of addiction and what is needed to treat it.

Big Tobacco once sold itself as a cure for cancer and asthma and was 
not exposed until the 1960's. We are just now seeing the decline of smoking.

A few individuals are funding a new social experiment of legalizing 
drugs in our country. With a populace behind the learning curve and 
unwitting politicians it seems inevitable. So let's follow the money 
of Tobacco 2.0. Let's look at the science and educate ourselves on 
the consequences of drug use. If we don't, what will this country 
look like in the next 80 years.

Suzanne Rusovich

Volunteer, Bridge House/Grace House

Greater New Orleans Drug Demand Reduction Coalition

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