Source: The Mountain Eagle (Tannersville, NY)
Contact: Fax: (607)652-5253
Pubdate: Thursday, August 27, 1998


The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse was released on August 21 and
government officials are once again pointing the finger of condemnation at
marijuana.  Drug use by young people increased last year, led by a rise in
marijuana smoking among teen-agers who view it as a "soft drug," a
Government survey reported Friday.

Marijuana use among youths 12 to 17 year old increased from 7.1 percent in
1996 to 9.4 percent in 1997. The level for 1997 is still less than the 14.2
percent estimate for 1979.

Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office on National Drug
Control Policy, said, "This study confirms the significant threat from
illegal drugs to our children."

Mr. McCaffrey failed to mention that the same study found that in 1997 11
million young people age, 12 to 20 abused alcohol. Of this group, 4.8
million, or more than 40 percent, engaged in binge drinking, meaning they
drank five or more drinks on one occasion -- and 2.0 million were heavy
drinkers, meaning they drank five or more drinks on one occasion on five or
more days in the past month.

The survey determined that drug use among youths was higher among those who
were currently using alcohol.

It's obvious that government officials are reluctant to identify alcohol
abuse as the primary threat to the health and well-being of our children.
It is also a fact that the liquor industry is buying political influence.

For example, Edward Bronfman, Jr. and his company Seagram distributed $1.2
million in soft money during the 1996 elections, 56 percent to Democrats.
Seagram's PAC gave another $87,000 directly to political campaigns. The
Distilled Spirits Council distributed nearly $186,000 in PAC contributions
and soft money.

It's apparent that self-serving government officials pose a greater threat
to our nation's youth than illegal drugs.

Walter F. Wouk - president
NORML in Schoharie
P.O. Box 87
Howes Cave, NY 12092

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Checked-by: Pat Dolan