Be Wise With Drug Law Reform

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August 13, 2013

While improvements to drug policy and the criminal justice system are certainly needed, we, as a nation, need to remember that both violent crime and drug use in America have declined significantly over the past 3 decades.  One must conclude then that we have obviously done some things right.

Until legalization advocates initiated well-financed campaigns to normalize and legalize drugs in the early 1990’s, with an emphasis on the legalization of marijuana under the guise of medicine, we had made tremendous progress in pushing back against drugs, actually reducing overall drug use in America by greater than 50%.

Our nation’s drug epidemic peaked when in 1978, according to the Monitoring the Future report, 10.7% of 12th graders reported smoking marijuana daily.  By 1992, those rates dipped to a low of 1.9%, an astounding 80% decline.  Since the launch of those pro-drug campaigns, we have slowly been slipping back to the old mindset of “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.” In 1997, following the passage of Proposition 215 which legalized marijuana as a so-called medicine in 1996, daily use of marijuana by 12th graders jumped to 5.8% and in 2012, it rose again to 6.5%.

Attorney General Holder could do much to help us move in the direction of further reduction of drug use if he would respect the duties of his job and enforce our federal marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington where so-called recreational use of pot is now allowed.  He also could take decisive action to stop the legalization of marijuana under the guise of medicine that is spreading across the country.  Drug prevention and treatment groups and law enforcement officials have repeatedly and directly asked for his help on this issue now for almost a year, and he continues to ignore our pleas while lives are damaged every single day from the abuses of marijuana.

Some of AG Holder’s recent comments about revamping the mandatory minimum guidelines are rather confusing because, in reality, people rarely get charged in federal court for simple possession charges (a misdemeanor). And if they do, it is usually because of other related charges like firearms, immigration, or a serious criminal history, and the drug charge has very little to do with the ultimate sentence.  Less than 1% of offenders are in prison for simple possession and these have typically pled down from much more serious crimes.

Mandatory minimum guidelines were instituted as a result of a bi-partisan commission and involved both congressional and judicial input to, among other things, address inequities in sentencing and provide national uniformity. They have also been a tremendous leveraging tool to find and prosecute the “Big Fish” while allowing the small-time drug peddlers to be diverted to alternative programs.

Eliminating mandatory minimums could actually resurrect the problems that they were intended to fix in the first place. The fact that violent crime and drug use in America have been declining should seriously be considered before we reverse the directions and policies that may be contributing to these declines.

Regarding Holder’s comments on rehabilitation and releases, we need a full spectrum approach that includes a working recovery system and a direct linkage to a job for those in recovery or being released. Just releasing prisoners is not going to improve anything and can be argued to be a form of political grandstanding. It may appear to reduce incarceration costs but the real costs to society will likely go up if we are releasing prisoners that are going to be back into our neighborhoods to sell drugs and commit crimes to support their habits or to compensate for their lack of real life ability and skills to cope with life on the outside.

We need more clarity from Mr. Holder about what his total plan includes. The devil is always in the details and details are rarely, if ever, contained in speeches. There is reason for all Americans to be concerned without a more in-depth policy description.

Drug Free America Foundation urges AG Holder to support drug courts and other diversion programs that hold drug users accountable while requiring them to stop using drugs, to support programs to help those incarcerated return to productive lives free of drugs, and to continue to exact swift and significant penalties upon drug traffickers that target and endanger our children.  We further call upon Mr. Holder to uphold his duty to enforce federal marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington and bring our nation back into compliance with our international treaty obligations!

Contact information:  Lana Beck, Communications Director  Telephone: 727-828-0211, ext 102 or 727-403-7571 Email: [email protected] Website:




Challenging the ‘celebrity driven’ propaganda for drug legalisation

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Agenda: Argument against legalising drugs

Ian Oliver – Tuesday 16 July 2013

Increasingly the assertion is made that international drug control policies have failed and the best solution would be to legalise drugs so that they would be controlled and distributed safely through Government authorised outlets, thus denying the trade to criminal traffickers.

Regrettably, these assertions are often made by self-appointed groups with grand sounding titles which have their own reasons for supporting legalisation. Frequently high-profile people claim legalisation is the best way of addressing a major social problem without cogent supporting evidence. The data used and distributed is inaccurate but presented to impress people who believe it must be true because it is published by such impressive sounding organisations and respected “celebrities”.

The flawed argument is that all prohibition monies have been wasted and would be better spent for the benefit of the community; it is claimed taxation on legally supplied drugs could be used to offset problems arising from drug use.

The truth is that all drugs are potentially dangerous including prescription and over-the-counter medicines unless taken under medical guidance and supervision. International organised crime has capitalised on drug trafficking to the point where the money generated often exceeds the GDP of many countries. Traffickers spread false information aimed at convincing gullible people that drugs are safe “recreational” and fun; it has to be remembered it is the demand for drugs that has made trafficking so profitable. Accurate information has been submerged by an abundance of deliberately false statements about all drug users being treated as criminals and drug control is an abuse of human rights which should allow all people freedom of choice.

Elementary research will reveal the problem with uncontrolled drugs just 100 years ago was vast and there were many people addicted to hard drugs marketed in various forms and widely used and abused. The international drug control system was born out of a real humanitarian crisis, a catastrophe that happened only because of a lack of global norms and standards. The UN Conventions were developed because it was universally agreed control was necessary to protect the health and welfare of mankind and most countries became signatories to agreements that are reviewed and approved every decade. The main Convention of 1961 is flexible in its approach and, far from being all about arrests and imprisonment, it emphasises the need that drugs should be used only for legitimate medical and research purposes; it stresses health and requires that all drug users are treated with respect and not marginalised or discriminated against. Conventions encourage evidence-based therapy for those who become dependent as well as education, rehabilitation and social re-integration. Criminality also has to be addressed.

There is another important UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, designed to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and to prevent the use of children in illicit production and trafficking. This is important as the human brain does not stop developing until well into the 20s and substances such as cannabis are proven to damage the brain permanently.

The purpose of any effective drug policy should be to lessen the harm that illegal drugs do to society. Lowering or eliminating current legal and social restrictions that limit the availability and acceptance of drug use would have the opposite effect.

Any Government policy must be motivated by the consideration that it must first do no harm. There is an obligation to protect citizens and the compassionate and sensible method must be to do everything possible to reduce dependency and misuse, not encourage or facilitate it. Criminals will not stop their crimes, change course and become honest tax-paying citizens if drugs were legalised. Although there may be freedom of choice to use dangerous substances there can be no freedom from the consequences. International drug control is working; fewer than 6% of people globally use drugs regularly and legalisation is not the answer.

Dr Oliver was a police officer for 37 years and is an independent consultant for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. He is the author of Drug Affliction, published by The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen



Mayo Clinic Warn Marijuana Pain Management for Teens a Big Mistake

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A study in the July 2013 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings warns that marijuana use for pain may interfere with normal development (released June 24, 2013). “The consequences may be very, very severe, particularly for adolescents who may get rid of their pain – or not – at the expense of the rest of their life,” said co-author J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist.

Despite regular marijuana use, patients reported worsening of their pain and impaired functioning. None attended school full time and found it difficult to be more socially active with their friends.



New Book – Worth a Look

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Legalising Dope will not increase use! Really?

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We’ve had a number of pro-drug lobbyists spew out the rapidly growing mantra declaring ‘you’re crazy if you think by legalizing drugs all of a sudden non users will start using!” We’ll the evidence is mounting, and it is so because of the pro-drug lobby propaganda. – it’s circular ‘push’ and conveniently self-promoting ‘advertisement’ by the peddlers of dysfunction, is gaining traction.

You see, ‘education’ does work!  When demand reduction strategies around cannabis were in full swing in the US, prior to the concerted ‘push’ of the  medical marijuana ‘Trojan Horse Con’, Dope use amongst community and even the young was dropping. However, when the outrageously manipulative con of ‘medical marijuana’ was pushed, the message started coming through, that ‘hey, it’s medicine, it can’t be that bad, can it?’

In Australia, the tobacco smoking rates have plummeted with the relentless ‘QUIT’ campaign and the extraordinary lengths government and health sectors have gone to mercilessly denigrate tobacco use. At NO point and in NO place is tobacco given the slightest bit of ‘good press’ to the point where most young people think that smoking cigarettes is more harmful than using cannabis!  NO mixed message, this legal drug is costing us billions and the healthcare system is struggling under the weight of the self-inflicted harms of the tobacco user.

But, apparently all this damage won’t happen with Cannabis use, if you believe the hype of the pro-drug lobby!

The mention of any burden on the already stressed healthcare system is actively avoided by the pro-drug lobbyist. The conversation around reduced productivity resulting from drug use is glaringly obvious by its omission from the conversation. The dysfunction and duress on families and communities and the mounting cost to taxpayers, by the purveyors and consumers of illicit drugs is never raised! That’s what turns ‘education’ into propaganda, the culling of all data contrary to the position being promoted.

So, of course,  ‘education’ can work both ways, and the reverse can be true… bang the ‘drugs are harmless, drugs are good, drugs are my human right’ drum long enough and loud enough, using spurious titles and specious data… and wolah! Marijuana (and other drugs) is not only not ‘bad for you’, but it’s actually beneficial!  Contrary to the evidence!

Only this week we see another example of how this ‘education’ has been working

SEATTLE (AP) – Washington high school students who participated in a statewide survey say they are twice as likely to smoke marijuana as cigarettes, and the state’s top health official. Mary Selecky,  Washington Health Secretary said Thursday “she’s worried that a new marijuana law may make prevention efforts more difficult…As the perception of harm goes down, use goes up,”






The ‘legalise and tax’ experiment’s been done and that ‘normal’ failed.

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The latest crazy idea being pushed in Washington is that federal enforcement of marihuana laws be shifted from DEA and FBI to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF). This is a relatively small law enforcement agency in the Justice Department whose major area of expertise and jurisdiction these days is working with other federal and state agencies on cases involving explosives. Alcohol and tobacco responsibilities are relatively small under federal jurisdiction and the firearms jurisdiction, while important, is complicated and controversial (e.g., Fast & Furious gun running operations, etc.).

As crazy as this idea is, I can understand why the pot lobby would be pushing it. For one thing, DEA and BATF are both agencies of the Justice Department and so the Attorney General has the call as to which agency should enforce which provisions of statutes (like the Controlled Substances Act) assigned by Congress to the Justice Department. Because of this, it might not take an Act of Congress to authorize such a shift shift, assuming the AG would go for it.

Moreover, the basis for even considering something like this would be to tax cannabis like alcohol and tobacco are currently taxed under federal law. This, of course, would be a back-door way of legalizing marihuana if only for the purpose of taxing it. Lord Elgin did the same thing in China in 1858 when he persuaded the Chinese in the Treaty of Tianjin to accept the de facto legalization of imported opium so it could be taxed. That opened the door to expanding domestic production of opium that was sold on the black market for far less than the taxed British imports. By the end of the 19th century, the Times of London had reported that 70 percent of adult males in China were opium users.

More recently, in 1937, the US Congress enacted the Marihuana Tax Act to regulate the commerce in the medical use of cannabis. A very small tax was imposed on licensed medical providers, while a far more onerous tax was levied on anyone caught in possession of untaxed marihuana. In 1969, in a case titled Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6, the Supreme Court tossed a provision pertaining to the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. In doing so, the Court noted that in its more than 30 year history, the Act raised very little revenue, which had been its legal basis. The Court took notice of the large increase in the illicit commerce and use of marihuana during the same period.

What’s that old aphorism about the first repeat of history is a tragedy, the second is farce. The NORML folks, in my view, are into their farcical period.

John Coleman



NADCP Releases Position Statement on Marijuana

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Review of Research Leads to Stand Against Marijuana Legalization of the use of Smoked Marijuana as “Medicine

Every dangerous and addictive drug was once believed to be safe and medicinal.  Cocaine, heroin and nicotine were once advertised as being good for you, or at least not harmful.  In every instance, we learned otherwise — the hard way.  Marijuana is the newest “safe” and “medicinal” drug to reenact this tragic drama.  Just as scientific research is documenting the unequivocal public-health and public-safety dangers of marijuana, states are moving rapidly towards legalization or decriminalization.

Drug Courts serve seriously addicted individuals with long criminal records who have alienated nearly everyone they love.  In every case, they tell us it began with marijuana.  Convinced that marijuana was safe, they learned it is, in fact, addictive, causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory disease, triggers mental illness and addiction to more serious drugs, and alienates friends, family and coworkers.

NADCP has long been committed to guiding the Drug Court field and the broader criminal justice and treatment communities with science, not ideology.  After thoroughly reviewing the research regarding the safety of recreational marijuana use and the efficacy of “medical” marijuana, NADCP unequivocally stands against the legalization of marijuana and the use of smoked marijuana as “medicine.”  Our reasons for doing so are thoroughly explained and cited in the attached Position Statement.

Unfortunately, the public discourse concerning drug policy in the U.S. has degenerated into a false-choice between incarceration and legalization.  Both of these extreme positions are dangerous, costly and ineffective.  But research proves there is a middle ground.  It is possible to reduce the devastating consequences of addiction and treat those already affected without overreacting and wasting public tax dollars.

Pick up any current issue of a scientific journal in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, counseling or criminology, and you will find studies documenting a new danger of marijuana.  But that same journal will also contain studies documenting the curative effects of Drug Courts and dozens of other treatment programs.  We can and must do better.  Science, not ideology, must be our guide to rational and informed public policy.

My best,
West Huddleston
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
– National Center for DWI Courts
– National Drug Court Institute
– Justice for Vets



A Response to Steven Chapman’s ‘The War On Pot: Not a Safe Bet’

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It seems like everyone — informed by the science or not — has an opinion on marijuana research these days. And while I may disagree with their conclusions, many editors’ pro-legalization opinion columns are smartly formulated and backed by some credible research. But this past week’s opinion article by a member of theChicago Tribune‘s editorial board, Steven Chapman, was neither. Mr. Chapman makes eight particularly incorrect and misleading assertions that deserve a correction:

1. “Existing laws aren’t keeping kids away from pot.”

Fact: It’s true that many kids smoke marijuana. About half of high school seniors have done so at least once. But many more kids drink alcohol — a legal, addictive, commercialized drug. And while tobacco has been decreasing among kids and is now used slightly less than pot among high schoolers, we can thank a societal shift on attitudes and also 80 years of learning the hard way for that. Overall, still, alcohol and cigarettes are used far greater than marijuana.

We also have had a relatively recent societal shift in attitudes about marijuana. As our country increasingly shuns tobacco, it also has made marijuana more accessible and socially acceptable — and youth are reporting easier access to weed at the same time.

But are they really getting marijuana more easily than beer? The 2009 survey Mr. Chapman referenced has been debunked. A recent by the University of Maryland showed that kids alcohol and cigarettes were the most readily accessible substances, with 50 percent and 44 percent, respectively, of youth reporting that they could obtain them within a day. Youth were least likely to report that they could get marijuana within a day (31 percent); 45 percent report that they would be unable to get marijuana at all.

2. “The sale and use of a substance does not necessarily mean more people will use it.”

Fact: Of course it does. Tobacco and alcohol are legal and readily accessible — and our nation’s use of those substances reflect this. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, past-month use of tobacco stands at about 27 percent, and past-month use of alcohol is about 52 percent. Meanwhile, past-month use of marijuana stands at about 8 percent of Americans.

When RAND researchers analyzed California’s 2010 effort to legalize marijuana, they concluded that the price of the drug could plummet and therefore marijuana consumption could increase. When something is legal, it is very likely that more people use it.

3. “No one, after all, is talking about putting pot in vending machines.”

Fact: Yes, as a matter of fact, they are. And it’s not just vending machines. It’s the “Starbucks of marijuana,” too. American society loves commercialization and Big Business has proven time and time again that they just can’t control themselves. A volunteer ban on liquor ads is completely ignored, as are bans on gambling advertising.

And remember what we have learned about Big Tobacco? Here’s evidence presented during the 1990stobacco settlements to jog your memory:

The Liggett Group: “If you are really and truly not going to sell [cigarettes] to children, you are going to be out of business in 30 years.”

R. J. Reynolds: “Realistically, if our company is to survive and prosper over the long-term, we must get our share of the youth market.”

Lorillard: “The base of our business is the high school student.”

Phillip Morris: “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer… Because of our high share of the market among the youngest smokers, Philip Morris will suffer more than the other companies from the decline in the number of teenage smokers.”

Philip Morris (now Altria) just bought the domain names “” and “”

We are incredibly naive to think a commercial marijuana industry wouldn’t employ all of the same strategies to convince people — especially young people — to use marijuana.

4. “The tolerance-fuels-use theory is thunderously lacking in real-world support. In the Netherlands, where ‘coffee shops’ are allowed to sell pot, teenagers are far less likely to use it than their American peers.”

Fact: The Netherlands experience is far more complicated than Mr. Chapman would care to discuss. Yes, the Netherlands has always had drug use rates below or at around the same rate as the U.S. Frankly, American drug use rates have far exceeded most of the world’s for a few hundred years now. But when the Netherlands started advertising pot – something we in America would be extremely susceptible to — they witnessed a tripling in youth use marijuana use rates, according to independent researchers. Their citizens now have a higher likelihood of needing treatment for marijuana than most of Europe. And they are closing many of their “coffee shops” after years of tolerance because of very potent pot that is saturating the market.

5. “‘In the states that have passed medical-marijuana laws, youth marijuana use has decreased,’ Amanda Reiman, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, told me. In California, “the number of seventh, ninth and 11th graders reporting marijuana use in the last six months and in their lifetimes all declined” after 1996, when the state passed its medical marijuana law.”

Fact: Rule number one in journalism: Check your facts. Informal rule #2: Make sure the facts you do use come from scientists, not advocates. There are two major problems with this statement:

(a) First, it does not come from a respected source, peer-reviewed journal, or anything of the like. The truth is that we are only beginning to learn about what happens to youth marijuana use when marijuana is “medicalized.” The only two peer-reviewed studies that I’ve seen on this shows that marijuana use is higher in medical marijuana states than non-medical marijuana states. And we have seen rapid increases in marijuana use since medical marijuana has been more widely accepted, since about 2007 or so. But we’re still learning. At the very least, the jury is out. But ask kids what they think about marijuana and you’ll probably get the answer that “if it’s medicine, it must be okay.” We know, for example, that the diversion of medical marijuana is common among adolescents in substance treatment.

(b) Second, even if we were to look at the overall use statistics and make a wide generalization about the link between medical marijuana and youth use, we would not look at 1996 as a starting point. Medical marijuana outlets were not implemented en masse until about 2006 or so. So while the law passed in 1996, it’s fair to say it was not fully implemented until 10 years later. And what has happened since 2006 in California and nationwide? Use rates have rapidly increased. But as I said before, we still need more research on the topic.

6. “The alleged harms of cannabis on the teen mind and body are exaggerated.”

Fact: By whom? The producers of the 1936 film Reefer Madness? Maybe so. But today’s science has moved beyond scare tactics and there are some general beliefs scientists hold about marijuana and its effect on teens:

Addiction: 1 in 6 kids who ever smoke marijuana will become addicted, according to independent research.

Mental Health: Marijuana use is significantly linked with mental illness, especially schizophrenia and psychosis, but also depression and anxiety.

Learning: Heavy, persistent marijuana use in adolescence is linked to a strong decline in IQ. A new analysis of this study has raised doubts among some, but the original study authors redid their analysis and are sticking to their findings. Also researchers unconnected to both studies have concluded that the new analysis does not overturn the original study.

The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse summed it up nicely:

…observational studies in humans cannot account for all potentially confounding variables. In contrast, animal studies — though limited in their application to the complex human brain — can more definitively assess the relationship between drug exposure and various outcomes. They have shown that exposure to cannabinoids during adolescent development can cause long-lasting changes in the brain’s reward system as well as the hippocampus, a brain area critical for learning and memory. The message inherent in these and in multiple supporting studies is clear. Regular marijuana use in adolescence is known to be part of a cluster of behaviors that can produce enduring detrimental effects and alter the trajectory of a young person’s life — thwarting his or her potential. Beyond potentially lowering IQ, teen marijuana use is linked to school dropout, other drug use, mental health problems, etc. Given the current number of regular marijuana users (about 1 in 15 high school seniors) and the possibility of this number increasing with marijuana legalization, we cannot afford to divert our focus from the central point: regular marijuana use stands to jeopardize a young person’s chances of success–in school and in life.


7. “A kid who gets his hands on beer doesn’t have to worry about getting toxic chemicals or nasty fillers. Buying pot in illicit markets may also expose users of all ages to violence, robbery or extortion. But you don’t see innocent bystanders getting killed in shootouts among liquor store owners.”

Fact: Marijuana legalization would do little to curb the black market, especially because that market could easily undercut the new, taxed price of legal marijuana . And let’s be clear: Most kids get their pot from a friend or family member indoors, not from some shady character on a street corner. Don’t believe everything you see in the movies.

8. “The alternative to legalization is sticking with a policy that has produced millions of arrests, squandered hundreds of billions of dollars and turned many harmless people into criminals in the eyes of the law — all while failing to stem the popularity of pot. For kids or adults, there is nothing healthy in that.”

Fact: This is probably my biggest beef with this piece. And it is not because the facts about marijuana use trends over the past 30 years are dead wrong (in fact, marijuana use is much lower than it was in the late 1970s).

To say that the only alternative to current policy is legalization is like saying the only alternative to current gun policy is the repeal of the Second Amendment. Actually, there are myriad of things short of legalization we can do to lessen the harms of current policy while improving upon it. That is why I launched Project: SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) with Patrick Kennedy last week. And many public health professionals have joined us already, including Harvard’s Sharon Levy; University of Kansas’ famed tobacco treatment pioneer, Kim Richter; Denver’s Paula Riggs, a leader in drug treatment in the US, and many others.

So if neither legalization nor prohibition, then what? Science-based drug education for parents and kids needs to become a top national priority. Community coalitions that engage in multiple community sectors, and drug courts that leverage the criminal justice system with treatment must be brought to scale. Strategies that implement job and stable housing programs should also be more widespread. We do not need to stigmatize people whose only crime is smoking marijuana, of course. But while “lock ’em up” or “legalize” may both fit neatly on a bumper sticker, they are not thoughtful ways to implement drug policy. There exists an approach that neither legalizes, nor demonizes, marijuana. We reject dichotomies — such as “incarceration versus legalization” — that offer only simplistic solutions to the highly complex problems stemming from marijuana use and the policies surrounding it. We champion smart policies that decrease marijuana use — and do not harm marijuana users and low-level dealers with arrest records that stigmatize them for life and in ways that make it even harder for them to break free from cycles of addiction.

People can disagree about whether or not legalization would result in a net benefit or net harm to society. But making up facts or revealing only half-truths gets us nowhere near the reasoned debate on this issue that we all crave.

Original Article:

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Marijuana IQ Study Successfully Defended by Scientists

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CADCA Jan 24, 2013

A highly-publicized study finding that marijuana use is linked to a severe drop in IQ has been successfully defended by the scientific community overseas and in the United States, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora Volkow.

The original study, published last August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Dr. Madeline Meier of Duke University, and colleagues, was the strongest evidence yet that teen use of cannabis could cause a drop in IQ. Opponents of the study claimed that socio-economic factors are to blame.

Around 1000 people all born in the same year in the New Zealand city of Dunedin were interviewed at ages 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38 about their marijuana use. The participants were also tested for their cognitive abilities at age 13 before starting to use cannabis, and at age 38. The study found persistent cannabis use during teenage years was associated with a drop in IQ of seven or eight points by the age of 38.

A new paper contesting the interpretation of the large-scale marijuana study was published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Norwegian Dr. Ole Rogeberg of the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in criticizes Meier for failing to control their study for socio-economic status: Poorer kids were getting an initial boost in IQ when they first went to school but that this declined once they left school.

“Indeed, when discussing traits like IQ, it would be surprising for one factor to be 100 percent causal. The strengths of the Meier et al study are that it is longitudinal in nature and that it controlled for a number of factors including years of education, schizophrenia, and other substance abuse. That said, observational studies in humans cannot account for all potentially confounding variables. In contrast, animal studies–though limited in their application to the complex human brain–can more definitively assess the relationship between drug exposure and various outcomes. They have shown that exposure to cannabinoids during adolescent development can cause long-lasting changes in the brain’s reward system as well as the hippocampus, a brain area critical for learning and memory,” Dr. Volkow wrote on NIDA’s website.

“The message inherent in these and in multiple supporting studies is clear. Regular marijuana use in adolescence is known to be part of a cluster of behaviours that can produce enduring detrimental effects and alter the trajectory of a young person’s life–thwarting his or her potential. Beyond potentially lowering IQ, teen marijuana use is linked to school dropout, other drug use, mental health problems, etc. Given the current number of regular marijuana users (about 1 in 15 high school seniors) and the possibility of this number increasing with marijuana legalization, we cannot afford to divert our focus from the central point: regular marijuana use stands to jeopardize a young person’s chances of success–in school and in life,” she concluded.



Fast Facts on Injecting Rooms:

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“Fast Facts on Injecting Rooms:
1. there has a been a dramatic decrease in drug deaths from before the opening of the injecting room due to the ‘heroin drought’ from John Howard’s crackdown on the drug industry and enforcement of laws stopping drug dealing that went on unhindered.
2.In Sydney there would be some 40,000 injections/day (20,000 heroin addicts injecting twice): only 160 injections/day in the injecting room (their figures); 60% are morphine (0.06 of 1% heroin injection in Sydney).
3. At least 99.6% of all addicts still inject where and when they can and not in the injecting room.The injecting room makes a mockery of drug laws and is a part of the campaign to decriminalise or legalise drug use. Check the facts and not support this propaganda.”

Dr Ross Colquhoun, D H Sc, M App Sc (Neuroscience), B Sc Hons (Psych), Grad Dip Counselling and Psychotherapy, Clinical Director, Addiction Treatment and Psychology Services