Personal Voices: A Mother's Advice about Drugs

Personal Voices: A Mother's Advice about Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on May 07, 2004 at 17:19:19 PT
By Marsha Rosenbaum, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet
Dear Johnny, This fall you will be entering high school, and like most American teenagers, you'll have to navigate drugs. As most parents, I would prefer that you not use drugs. However, I realize that despite my wishes, you might experiment. I will not use scare tactics to deter you. Instead, having spent the past 25 years researching drug use, abuse and policy, I will tell you a little about what I have learned, hoping this will let you to make wise choices. My only concern is your health and safety.
When people talk about "drugs," they are generally referring to illegal substances such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine (speed), psychedelic drugs (LSD, Ecstasy, "Shrooms") and heroin. These are not the only drugs that make you high. Alcohol, cigarettes and many other substances (like glue) cause intoxication of some sort. The fact that one drug or another is illegal does not mean one is better or worse for you. All of them temporarily change the way you perceive things and the way you think. Some people will tell you that drugs feel good, and that's why they use them. But drugs are not always fun. Cocaine and methamphetamine speed up your heart; LSD can make you feel disoriented; alcohol intoxication impairs driving; cigarette smoking leads to addiction and sometimes lung cancer; and people sometimes die suddenly from taking heroin. Marijuana does not often lead to physical dependence or overdose, but it does alter the way people think, behave and react. I have tried to give you a short description of the drugs you might encounter. I choose not to try to scare you by distorting information because I want you to have confidence in what I tell you. Although I won't lie to you about their effects, there are many reasons for a person your age to not use drugs or alcohol. First, being high on marijuana or any other drug often interferes with normal life. It is difficult to retain information while high, so using it  especially daily  affects your ability to learn. Second, if you think you might try marijuana, please wait until you are older. Adults with drug problems often started using at a very early age. Finally, your father and I don't want you to get into trouble. Drug and alcohol use is illegal, and the consequences of being caught are huge. Here in the United States, the number of arrests for possession of marijuana has more than doubled in the past six years. Adults are serious about "zero tolerance." If caught, you could be arrested, expelled from school, barred from playing sports, lose your driver's license, denied a college loan, and/or rejected for college. Despite my advice to abstain, you may one day choose to experiment. I will say again that this is not a good idea, but if you do, I urge you to learn as much as you can, and use common sense. There are many excellent books and references, including the Internet, that give you credible information about drugs. You can, of course, always talk to me. If I don't know the answers to your questions, I will try to help you find them. If you are offered drugs, be cautious. Watch how people behave, but understand that everyone responds differently  even to the same substance. If you do decide to experiment, be sure you are surrounded by people you can count upon. Plan your transportation and under no circumstances drive or get into a car with anyone else who has been using alcohol or other drugs. Call us or any of our close friends any time, day or night, and we will pick you up  no questions asked and no consequences. And please, Johnny, use moderation. It is impossible to know what is contained in illegal drugs because they are not regulated. The majority of fatal overdoses occur because young people do not know the strength of the drugs they consume, or how they combine with other drugs. Please do not participate in drinking contests, which have killed too many young people. Whereas marijuana by itself is not fatal, too much can cause you to become disoriented and sometimes paranoid. And of course, smoking can hurt your lungs, later in life and now. Johnny, as your father and I have always told you about a range of activities (including sex), think about the consequences of your actions before you act. Drugs are no different. Be skeptical and most of all, be safe. Love, Mom Marsha Rosenbaum, director of The Lindesmith Center-West, a drug policy institute in San Francisco, wrote this letter to her son, an Urban High School freshman. Source: AlterNet (US)Author: Marsha Rosenbaum, AlterNetPublished: May 07, 2004Copyright: 2004 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance 'Silver Bullet' Drug Information Harms Kids
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on May 08, 2004 at 09:05:56 PT
She's missing a very vital clue
This seems beneath her intelligence:"Second, if you think you might try marijuana, please wait until you are older. Adults with drug problems often started using at a very early age."This has to do with family trauma more than anything else. I'm surprised she doesn't realize that! Is she Libertarian? I am seeing that Libertarians are not as educated in the realities and consequences of family trauma in this country. Maybe Democrats are just more "victim" oriented and have a head start on the subject. In this case it's good to be victim-oriented because that's the best way to understand why people who get addicted start young.It's not the fact of starting young so much as what leads a person to start young. A person starts young BECAUSE they don't have parents who are capable of watching out for their best interests. The factual reality of that situation and the emotional reality of that situation can't be neatly separated. The emotional reality is that kids suffering trauma don't know they're suffering trauma, they just know they need to change the way they feel, and they will find something to do that however they can.I started young on marijuana. Because I was deeply traumatized, because I was raised in a violent home. Marijuana was actually the right thing for me to use, and I defend my use at a young age, knowing what I know now about trauma and how marijuana helps.
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Comment #1 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on May 07, 2004 at 17:59:30 PT:
The curriculum of government schools are flawed because they fail to teach you the dark side of government!1. Super wealthy industrialists have manipulated the curriculum of government schools so that we do NOT learn. See, e.g., That being "educated" does not mean getting high grades in school. Being "educated" means being familiar with current events and justice. According to, the textbooks for children in the 1850s are at present day considered COLLEGE LEVEL! THIS IS HOW SUCCESSFUL THE WEALTHY INDUSTRIALISTS HAVE BEEN AT DUMBING US DOWN, TO DELAY OUR INTELLECTUAL MATURITY!!!2. The United States Central Intelligence Agency has manipulated major media so that we are not told the truth, since the 1940s, known as Operation Mockingbird. See, e.g., (or .com??).3. The United States Central Intelligence Agency launders over $600 Billion per year of drug money thru Wall Street, See, e.g.,, while Americans are villified for their small time drug usage.4. The Grandfather and Great Grandfather of President George W. Bush heavilty financed Adolph Hitler during an oil embergo, along with The Rockefeller Family. See, e.g., 5. The United States Department of State brought several Nazis into the USA, at the end of World War II. See, e.g.,, type into the archives or search "New Jersey and the Nazis". They were not merely high level scientists, either!! 6. We used to be required to grow Hemp! See, e.g.,, scroll to the top of the Web site and click on "The Emperor Wears No Clothes." 7. Congress has resisted every effort to approve the development of alternative sources of fuel, such as Hemp. See, e.g., My local Congressman, U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr., the only U.S. Representative in New Jersey who is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told me he is against medical Cannabis and Hemp, without providing one iota of explanation!8. All federal court judges and the majority of state court judges LIE to the jury, by instructing the jury that the jury MUST follow the trial judge's instructions of law EVEN IF THEY DISAGREE WITH THE LAW. The judges have misinterpreted a United States Supreme Court case of Sparf and Hansen v. United States, decided in 1895, over 100 years ago, in which the majority of The Court held that the trial judge is not required to instruct the jury that they may decide the law as well as the facts in determining their verdict [JURY NULLIFICATION]. Since that time, the lower courts have twisted and bended the meaning of the Sparf and Hansen decision and now literally lie to the jury, and the United States Supreme Court has REFUSED to grant certiorari on this issue to straighten out the lower courts!! The jury, as conscience of the community, acts as a check upon the government. The trial judges have gotten away with watering down this check upon Big Brother! Every genocide of the 20th century began with gun control laws. Adolph Hitler killed more people who were NOT Jewish! So, don't think it does not affect Americans! More Americans have been killed by our own government than by all wars against other countries. The United States Supreme Court has REFUSED to resolve the boiling controversy of whether the United States Constitution Bill of Rights was intended to prevent the federal government from infringing on an individual citizen's opportunity to keep and bear arms! See, e.g., Corporations were declared to be a "person" by virtue of a United States Supreme Court case, which gives them HUGE tax breaks and constitutional protection!! The United States Supreme Court has refused to overrule that decision. Corporations are now out of control, polluting our environment11. Third parties, such as and, seek to reduce Big Brother and the big corporations' bad influence upon Americans. Voting for 3rd parties would enable us to place people on the bench of the United States Supreme Court who care about individual freedoms and not protecting Big Brother's Corporations and Elections!!12. To parapharase the article, despite what the law says, there is such a thing as responsible use of drugs. This person is referred to as a "smart stoner", somebody who can use Cannabis without interference of their industrial productivity. "Dumb stoners", on the other hand, end up using Cannabis to such an extent that it interferes with their studies. Young people are not aware of responsible use of much of anything. This is why your parents ask you not to do drugs. As you get older, you accumulate the experiences and education which enable you to handle situations so that you can make RESPONSIBLE decisions about yourselves. You should not condemn drug users. You should condemn the irresponsible use of drugs.Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, New Jersey, 08840-0159, (Cell telephone number)(908) 403-6990, richardzuckerman2002
Member of:;;;;;;;
Diploma in Paralegal, New York University, 2003;
B.A. in Political Science, Kean College of New Jersey [presently named Kean University], 1987.
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