Drug Policy

Drug Czar Blames Cancer and AIDS Patients for Increase in Pot Use by Teenagers

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The latest numbers from the government-sponsored Monitoring the Future Study, released today, indicate that marijuana use among teenagers continues a modest upward trend that began a few years ago. The share of high school seniors who reported smoking pot in the previous month, for example, rose from 20.6 percent in 2009 to 21.4 percent in 2010. That's up from a recent low of 18.3 percent in 2006 but still lower than the rates seen in the mid-to-late 1990s. Federal drug czar Gil Kerlikowske blames "mixed messages about drug legalization, particularly marijuana legalization." He told ABC News Radio:

We have been telling young people, particularly for the past couple years, that marijuana is medicine. So it shouldn't be a great surprise to us that young people are now misperceiving the dangers or the risks around marijuana.

The timing of the increase in marijuana use does not seem to fit this theory. States began legalizing the medical use of marijuana in 1996, after which past-month marijuana use among high school seniors went up and down until 2003, when it began a decline that continued until 2007. Furthermore, as the Drug Policy Alliance's Bill Piper points out, states that have liberalized their marijuana policies have not seen noticeably bigger increases in use than states that have not:

Fifteen states (plus Washington, D.C.) have legalized marijuana for medical use and 13 states have decriminalized marijuana for personal use. Decades of research have consistently demonstrated that marijuana use rates in those states go up and down at roughly the same rates as in other states.

Mason Tvert, co-author of Marijuana Is Safer (which I reviewed in the April issue of Reason), notes that the increase in marijuana use has been accompanied by a decline in drinking, which could mean a net reduction in  drug-related harm.

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  1. Wtf do you expect? I can’t get a job with a living wage. But if I buy an ounce, sell 3 quarters, I am left with a quarter worth of medicine to combat my employment depression.

    1. Maybe you wouldn’t be unemployed if you weren’t a druggie. I can smell pot smoke in a persons hair for days after he smokes it (unless he has washed his hair before hand)

  2. I say triple-strength Oxycontin for all – at manufacturing cost + .01 cent!

    Think about the Darwinian implications. And anything that culls the SoCon South out of the gene pool is a FUCKING A!

    1. shriek, it’s good to know that you’re genocidal besides being homophobic.

      1. I would hardly call for increased access to safe medicine genocidal.

        1. Fuck, that was not even close to a sentence.

          Calling for increased access to safe medicine is not a call for genocide.

          If a large proportion of fundamentalist fucktards go on to overdose, that is a positive side effect.

          Still a homophobe though.

    2. Say, I’m a Southerner.

      1. So, how many of your relatives abuse prescription drugs? And how many fuck their relatives, hur hur hur? Oh, wait, shit — I got my stereotypes mixed up, I was thinking of Ivy League professors.

        1. Tolerance and understanding.

      2. You know, the first time I read that, I saw “SoCal south”. Aside from the redundancy, I was poised to agree.

  3. More importantly, it shows a better understanding of the risks, since its safer than many medications.

  4. Darn kids these days having fun! Next thing you know, they’ll wear funny clothes!
    Why, when I was a kid, fun was illegal! And had to walk uphill to and from school!

    1. Five miles, each way! In the snow! Wearing frying pans as shoes!

      Now… get off my lawn!

  5. wow the kids these days are smart. Back in my day we smoked a lot of pot AND drank heavily. They are at least smart enough to cut back on the booze. Wait, how does the decrease in drinking play into the government’s claim that drinks like Four Loko are targeted at teens?

    1. When I was a teen it was legal to drink. My micro-generation still holds the record on “teen drug use” too. For all the “malaise” of the Carter years it was an era of libertine debauchery.

      1. This^

        A nineteen year old drinking age, cheap hash and Thai sticks were probably some of the better aspects of the late ’70s. That, along with hippie chicks and no AIDs made for some fun, fun times.

        1. Remember the windowpane?

      2. I, too, was blessed to be 18 during the halcyon days of the 18 drinking age. Going to college when pot, shrooms, and acid were widely available, booze was legal, and STDs not on anyone’s mind – good times does not even begin to describe it.

        1. Yeah, but I shudder to imagine all that jungle bush.

    2. Wait, how does the decrease in drinking play into the government’s claim that drinks like Four Loko are targeted at teens?

      See, banning FourLoko worked! That means we should ban it everywhere!

      1. nevermind that the decrease happened before the ban.

  6. This is obviously wrong. The recent MJ use trend among high schoolers (say lat 10 years) directly correlates with video game platforms. I is not easy to play Halo while high or drunk. On the other hand once the wii was out high and drunk playing became a erquirement. Stupid drug warriors, we need to outlaw fun not drugs.

    Madden Football is aptly named

    1. missing a t in It, requirements requires dyslexia to read, and lets add an s to the parenthetical.

      That should do it.

    2. Dude, put the bong down.

  7. We have been telling young people, particularly for the past couple years, that marijuana is medicine. So it shouldn’t be a great surprise to us that young people are now misperceiving the dangers or the risks around marijuana.

    The timing of the increase in marijuana use does not seem to fit this theory.

    That’s because the timing is a response to the Drug Warrior’s increased perception of danger from legalization efforts (i.e. that such efforts might be on the road to success). It’s the same demonization strategy they’ve used since the beginning.

  8. We have been telling young people, particularly for the past couple years, that marijuana is medicine.

    Obviously the solution to our education problem is to tell young people that knowledge and logical thinking are medicine.

    1. Obviously to solution to the problem is to lie to them and tell them marijuana isn’t medicine.

  9. It can’t be said enough, but what kind of monster wants to deny something that makes people sick with things like cancer feel better? Drug warriors are a special kind of vermin.

    1. An easily duped monster.

  10. Kids smoke pot because it’s a fuck of a lot cheaper than tobacco now.

  11. Make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in the upright and locked position, and your seatbelt is snugged firmly in place – Prop 19 scared the bejesus out of these bastages, and the anti-drug hysteria is going to 11 for a while. Bet on it, especially with the bunch of SoCon shitheads that just got swept into office because they also happened to be fiscal conservatives. . .

    No wonder they didn’t want to talk about social fucking issues.

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    it in all my common sharing sites.3.Be sure to return to the website

  13. Well I’ve just had a pleasant surprise while looking at the “The NSDUH Report ? State Estimates of Drunk and Drugged Driving” from SAMSHA. The fact that I had a pleasant surprise when looking at government statistics about “drugged” driving is a shocking surprise in itself.
    ——————————————————-
    Trends in Driving under the Influence of Illicit Drugs

    When combined 2002 to 2005 data are compared with combined 2006 to 2009 data, the Nation as a whole experienced a statistically significant reduction in the rate of past year drugged driving (from 4.8 to 4.3 percent), as did seven States: Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (Table 2). No States had a statistically significant increase in the rate of drugged driving.

    http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/205/DruggedDriving.htm

    Well ain’t that a slap in the face of the “drugged driving” dangers the Know Nothings like to include in their standard issue hysterical rhetoric.

    Should I mention that 4 of the 7 states cited by SAMSHA as having statistically significant reductions in “drugged” driving From 2002 to 2009 are medical cannabis states? Do we also point out that Michigan wasn’t a medical cannabis state until 2008?

    This tidbit is also included:

    Reductions in past year rates of drugged driving were found both among persons aged 16 to 25 (12.9 to 11.4 percent) and among persons aged 26 or older (3.0 to 2.8 percent).

    Wow, I wonder why this report didn’t make the headlines. Perhaps it was just forgotten seeing how it was published way, way back in last week, on 12/09/2010.

  14. “We have been telling young people, particularly for the past couple years, that marijuana is medicine. So it shouldn’t be a great surprise to us that young people are now misperceiving the dangers or the risks around marijuana.”

    Yes, clearly teenagers are smoking pot because they mistakenly thought it was medicine. That must be the reason. Because kids love taking medicine.

  15. I just wanted to say that anything is possible, like finding the love of your life on STDmatching,com. I thought love life was over when I found out I had STD till I found him on the site!

  16. So all we need to do is take those abused medical drugs and make them illegal for everyone to get rid of this teen abuse problem right? Bye bye Oxycontin, Xanax, Cannabis, Et Cetera. Wait, what is that Drug Czar? Even though there has been a huge increase in pharmaceuticals abuse we are going to ignore that and pretend it has nothing to do with teens thinking medicine is safe to use recreationally? But you just said that they are abusing cannabis for that reason. Oh, sorry. I was thinking for myself again.

    All joking aside, I think we all know what is causing this rise in teen abuse. Rudeness. It all comes down to the fact that alcohol and tobacco vendors are exceedingly rude to minors. I mean they just start rudely demanding to see some form of government issued I.D. proving you are old enough to purchase the alcohol or tobacco in the eyes of the law. Not like those polite illegal cannabis peddlers. They don’t rudely demand minors not be minors to buy drugs. They just politely sell the drugs to anyone who can pay. Once again it is the decline of kindness that is driving our children to a degrading life of I.V. cannabis addiction that will eventually lead to a horrible cannabis O.D. where they are found dead in an ally with a thai stick poking out of their veins. Thank you ONDCP for protecting our children from this dire fate. Now they can die of an alcohol overdose like God intended!

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