Where Have All the Pot Smokers Gone?

Given the fact that most American adults born after World War II have used illegal drugs (typically marijuana), can we expect public discussions of this subject to become more honest, or less so? In an op-ed piece The Wall Street Journal ran on Monday, addiction expert (and occasional reason contributor) Stanton Peele defends Barack Obama against the argument that it's irresponsible for politicians to discuss their youthful drug use:

Perhaps it can be good for young people to learn that as they mature they can, and will, straighten out and fly right?

This is the opposite of the approach of nearly all school drug education programs. Here the logic is to troop in people who have ruined their lives by their drug use and drinking, as object lessons in the evils of sin. But there are reasons to believe that kids reject negative messages from figures like these, and that purely scare tactics don't work. Research on effective drug resistance programs finds that the best ways to prevent substance abuse are for kids to develop skills, feel good about themselves, have positive peers, and look forward to their futures.

Peele, whose latest book is Addiction-Proof Your Child, notes that survey data from the year Obama turned 18 indicate that two-thirds of high school seniors had tried illegal drugs. Drug education cannot be credible if it denies or ignores the reality that the vast majority of them nevertheless turned out OK.   

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  • Episiarch||

    I guess I shouldn't have done that blow on New Year's then.

  • TallDave||

    Here's a crazy idea: people should be judged by their actions, not what they choose to ingest.

  • ||

    Drug education cannot be credible if it denies or ignores the reality that the vast majority of them nevertheless turned out OK.

    I'm not so sure that's the reality.

  • ||

    As the great Rodney Dangerfield said

    I smoked pot once, but I didn't know what I was doing. I was high on cocaine.

  • ||

    Research on effective drug resistance programs finds that the best ways to prevent substance abuse are for kids to develop skills, feel good about themselves, have positive peers, and look forward to their futures.

    Feeling good about yourself, having skills and friends, and having a future is no way to go through life, son. Here, eat these pills.

  • ||

    best ways to prevent substance abuse are for kids to develop skills, feel good about themselves, have positive peers, and look forward to their futures.

    Sheesh. It's no wonder I was such a drug fiend. I can't say that I had or did any of those things.

  • Abdul||

    Research on effective drug resistance programs finds that the best ways to prevent substance abuse are for kids to develop skills, feel good about themselves, have positive peers, and look forward to their futures

    Okay, in which of these areas was the young Barack Obama lacking? I find it hard to believe he didn't have skills, feel good about himself, have positive peers or look foward to his future. So why did he turn to the killer weed?

  • ||

    What drives me to drink is how all those pot smokers have come to believe the drug war hysteria about smoking pot. I don't know, maybe it does damage your brain.

  • ||

    Okay, in which of these areas was the young Barack Obama lacking? I find it hard to believe he didn't have skills, feel good about himself, have positive peers or look foward to his future. So why did he turn to the killer weed?

    All the cool kids were doing it.

  • Bingo||

    Kids do drugs because drugs are fun. Is this really so confusing?

  • ||

    Kids do drugs because drugs are fun. Is this really so confusing?

    No, it's totally plaid. Now go fertilize those ducks.

  • toddb||

    "the reality that the vast majority of them nevertheless turned out OK."

    Aren't these the same people who became voters and brought us all the fabulous Dems and Repubs in office today?

  • Ali||

    Where Have All the Pot Smokers Gone?

    Hopefully in Iowa getting out the for Ron Paul.

  • Ali||

    plug in "vote" somewhere in my 4:09 comment

  • ||

    Drug education cannot be credible if it denies or ignores the reality that the vast majority of them nevertheless turned out OK.

    I'm not so sure that's the reality.



    crimethink is right to bring this up. The salient question is "Is there a demonstrable life success* difference between those that used drugs and those who abstained?"

    Most people who used drugs, legal and illegal, are fucked up one way or another. Most people who never used drugs, legal or illegal are fucked up one way or the other. I would venture that a person my age (52) who has never been drunk, stoned, hyped up on stimulants or tripped is probably MORE likely to be a fucked up person than someone that has experimented or even regularly used drugs.

    Reliable numbers are not out there to my knowledge. Reliable numbers may be unattainable given peoples proclivity to lie on surveys. Compare the numbers of regular churchgoers by survey with the actual attendance at services to see what I'm getting at.

    *However you want to define that can of worms.

  • ||

    "Mother's milk leads to everything." - George Carlin.

  • ||

    Lessee, both our president and vice president were busted for DUI (Bush was 30, Cheney 21 and 22 years old), and yet their lives weren't destroyed.

    Apparently driving drunk only destroys the lives of poor, unconnected folk. Or is this another example of "politicians should lie about their past so the youngn's won't get the wrong idea?".

  • ||

    I'm a former drug user. I've used drugs that, according to the federal government, would:

    -Make me a homeless bum

    -Put holes in my brain

    -Destroy my social life

    -Turn me into an immoral sack of shit

    -Jump off of buildings

    Etc, etc.

    Yet, none of these things happened. Doesn't do much for their credibility, does it?

  • toddb||

    RP is going to be on Hannity (radio) in a couple of minutes if you get it on local radio...

  • Guy in the back row||

    Drug education cannot be credible if it denies or ignores the reality that the vast majority of them nevertheless turned out OK.

    I'm not so sure that's the reality.


    Obama did OK, Clinton, Bush 43, Mike Bloomberg all did OK, I'd say it's closer to reality than the opposite.

  • ||

    Mother's milk leads to everything." - George Carlin.


    I am still hooked on the packaging.

  • Episiarch||

    RP is going to be on Hannity (radio) in a couple of minutes if you get it on local radio...

    Holy shit, Ron has some balls. Hannity is like a coked-out pit bull implanted with Norman Podhoretz's brain. He will relentlessly attack Ron for not being WAR WAR.

  • Ali||

    Yet, none of these things happened.

    Well, as a drug user, how would you know?

  • Ali||

    He's on now talking about who's responsible for 9/11.

    http://www.hannity.com/article.asp?id=397001

  • Episiarch||

    I remember when I was a kid Spider-Man told me* that joints could be laced with angel dust. It made me very, very curious about this "angel dust".

    * it was some one-time anti-drug propaganda issue

  • ||

    I remember when I was a kid Spider-Man told me* that joints could be laced with angel dust. It made me very, very curious about this "angel dust".

    The character he was speaking to should have pointed out that no drug dealer who is interested in a profit would lace an extremely cheap drug with an expensive one and not tell the customer.

  • Episiarch||

    The character he was speaking to should have pointed out that no drug dealer who is interested in a profit would lace an extremely cheap drug with an expensive one and not tell the customer.

    It also failed to explain why a dealer who is interested in a profit would lace the joint with another drug that the comic might as well have called "insano-dust", because they implied that if you smoked it you would go crazy.

  • ||

    I, ummm, heard of some folks in Mississippi in 1981 that bought some pcp laced grass that was supposed to be high end bud. Very pricey and "they" had a really bad time with it resulting in an ER trip. Profit motivated dusting of very cheap homegrown.

  • marketer||

    no drug dealer who is interested in a profit would lace an extremely cheap drug with an expensive one and not tell the customer

    ...until the customer subsequently inquires as to why parity brands lacked the perceived benefit, thus establishing the Unique Selling Proposition of the loss-leader.

  • penxv||

    Drugs kill boredom. "Doing shit" kills boredom as well... maybe the schools should focus more on that and less on lectures from the borderline retarded.

  • ||

    I remember when I was a kid Spider-Man told me* that joints could be laced with angel dust. It made me very, very curious about this "angel dust".

    I think the propaganda in this vein is my favorite of all of them.

    Yeah, a drug dealer is going to take a drug that is 10x more valuable and use it to cut a drug that already sells like hotcakes.

    Can someone explain to me where the benefit for the dealer is in this situation?

    Drug Warrior=drug ignorant

  • ||

    Ouch beat to it twice.

    Screw you guys, I'm going home...

  • God\'s Own Drunk||

    "Drugs kill boredom. "Doing shit" kills boredom as well..."

    And doing drugs while doing shit is absolutely AWESOME.

  • ||

    I am currently dealing with a 16 year old daughter who has learned that pot is fun. I was a pothead for a majority of my life and while I'm not a loser, I've definitely underachieved. I have been forthright with her about my use and its consequences. While I can't say that she's abstained, I do think that she has absorbed some of what I've told her and it's "in the mix", so to speak. A recent exchange went something like this,

    Me:"I'm not gonna say that smoking pot will lead to you shooting heroin in a back alley of New York or anything like that..."
    Her:"Good, because if you did I'd never listen to anything you said again. I know better."

    The "kids" we're talking about are not children. They're not-quite-but-almost adults. They aren't swayed by Doctor Suess styled propaganda. They know better.
    I emphasize to my daughter that of all the potheads I know, almost all say they wish they'd never smoked and very few have financial security. Weed is a drug for children and if you continue to smoke then you never really grow up.
    Of course this is all because I'm the non-custodial parent. If she lived with me I'd chain her in the basement, shoot her full of adreneline and make her watch 'Reefer Madness' for 48 hours straight. That'd learn 'er.

  • ||

    If she lived with me I'd chain her in the basement, shoot her full of adreneline and make her watch 'Reefer Madness' for 48 hours straight.

    This should be added to the DARE program.

  • ||

    Bulucanagria, I like that begining, "Weed is a drug for children..." I'd finish off with, "cocaine is for adults."

    Of course I'd be lying because I never use and do not endorse use of either. Well...except for Friday, and the occasional Saturday. Sometimes on an early Sunday evening. But, other than that, absolutely never.

  • TWC||

    Where Have All the Pot Smokers Gone?

    Jail

  • ||

    Where Have All the Pot Smokers Gone?

    Considering that NO ONE posted at 4:20...

    And a few minutes before or after doesn't count.

  • Robert||

    "I never use and do not endorse use of either."

    Oh. At first I read that as "ether".

  • Wacky Toastbaccy||

    J sub D @ January 2, 2008, 4:12pm

    I would venture that a person my age (52) who has never been drunk, stoned, hyped up on stimulants or tripped is probably MORE likely to be a fucked up person than someone that has experimented or even regularly used drugs.



    What were you on when you came to that conclusion?

  • ||

    I always loved the loser portrayal they brought out to show what happens to people who use drugs. What they fail to mention is that these people in all likelyhood would have fucked themselves up in some form or fashion regardless of drugs. Lord forbid your kid knows you smoke a little pot. All my friends smoke and they are such bad examples for kids with their college degrees and professional jobs, really is a shame drugs did that to them.

  • R C Dean||

    I remember when I was a kid Spider-Man told me

    Sounds like you were already well-acquainted with mind-altering substances.

    I emphasize to my daughter that of all the potheads I know, almost all say they wish they'd never smoked and very few have financial security.

    I can think of several exceptions from Phi Beta Kappa in college and my law school class.

  • ||

    I would venture that a person my age (52) who has never been drunk, stoned, hyped up on stimulants or tripped is probably MORE likely to be a fucked up person than someone that has experimented or even regularly used drugs.

    What were you on when you came to that conclusion?



    Stone cold sober. I have known some Jesus freaks that have NEVER partaken. I read that suicide bombing jihadists are also in the forever straight club. Edgar Allen Poe, Carl Sagan, Arthur Conan Doyle, Winston Churchill, George Wsahington ... all stoners or drunks.

  • STONE COLD TOAST||

    Oh, so you're of the creatively-crippled set. I feel sorry that you can't feel good about yourself without medication, but that happens (I agree with Peen & Teller on the subject). It may be because there's a family history of substance abuse and stubbornness that I feel the way I do, like a cranky dry alky.

  • ||

    SCT
    Ever been "drunk"? That's 3 beers, glasses of wine or cocktails. Ever hit a joint when it was passed to you? Like your coffee in the AM? Nicotine? Pain relievers because you're not tough enough?

    Just curious.

  • NY Voter||

    I know a guy in a high tech company pulling in 300K and a guy who has difficulties keeping good paying jobs. They both started out in the same playground a long time ago.

    It's definitely the person, not the activity.

    And no matter what, it's better than booze or coke. The homeless people on the subway are not potheads, they are drunks or crackheads.

  • ||

    My assertions were pertaining to chronic users (pun intended)

  • Cold Toast||

    J sub D @ January 3, 2008, 1:29pm,

    No, no, no, no, nothing stronger than ibuprofen except for that abscessed tooth at 2am. But stop trying to prove my point for me. You're really taking the fun out of it.

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