cannabisnews.com: Too Many Lives are Going Up in Smoke





Too Many Lives are Going Up in Smoke
Posted by FoM on March 19, 2000 at 07:14:12 PT
By Scott Haskins, Edmonton Sun
Source: Edmonton Sun
So, it turns out school is all it's cracked up to be. This gives a whole new meaning to the term, "Let's get crackin'." Bad jokes, I know, but they say laughter is the best medicine. We need it this morning. The news that there's a crack cocaine epidemic in our high schools may be disturbing, but is it really all that surprising? 
Dr. Louis Pagliaro, a substance abuse expert at the University of Alberta, says this hideous drug is being used every day in every high school in Edmonton. Of course it is. Just like it's being used by society as a whole. Do we really expect our children to set the standard for good judgment? Getting stoned and going to school is nothing new. Crack babies are nothing new. But now it might be your baby who sits in math class, but lives in his (or her) own ugly world. Reporter David Carrigg, whose stories appear on this page and on page 49, paints a bleak picture. Once associated with the slums and the dregs of society, crack use is now widespread. "There are cook houses all over the city," police spokesman Annette Bidniak tells Carrigg. "There's not a corner in the city you can't buy crack." So police the corners? You don't slay the beast by cutting off its toe. The buyers are actually the victims, not the problem. It goes much deeper than that. The road to ruin for many Albertans begins in South America and goes through Vancouver. Our prettiest city is also the armpit of the country when it comes to the drug trade. It was only a matter of time before the stench reached us. You don't really think our gangsters just ride around in their cars, hiding behind darkened windows, do you? For every one arrested, there are 10 more willing to take their place. In a way, the small-time dealer is a victim, too. The crack high is said to be immediate. And so are the problems associated with it. An addict can spend up to $600 a day. How do you afford that without hooking or stealing? Since we're talking about school kids, it seems appropriate that the only answer is education. Crack isn't something you do for fun. One hit, they say, and you're hooked. If it doesn't end your life, it will most certainly ruin it. Epidemic is one of the scariest words in the English language. Crack was rare in Alberta 10 years ago. Now RCMP Staff Sgt. Doug Carruthers uses the word "soaring" to describe its popularity. Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission figures show the number of cocaine addicts nearly doubled between 1996 and 1999, from 2,219 to 4,087. And that's just admitted addicts. But, for every person who has come forward to admit a problem, says AADAC's Keith Hughes, there are dozens still fooling themselves. Too many lives are going up in smoke. I find two aspects of Carrigg's stories especially disheartening. One, the only cocaine addiction facility in the province is in Grande Prairie. And, two, there are only 12 drug detectives working the streets of Edmonton. That's less than 10 years ago when marijuana was considered the root of all evil. And speaking of marijuana - in a hushed voice, of course - let me play the devil's advocate. My mom used to say, "This place is going to pot." She didn't mean it this way, but would that be such a bad thing? Canada's police chiefs don't think so. They've gone on record as saying they'd like to see weed decriminalized. Too much hassle for something that does so little harm. A recent study indicates the following ... - Consumption of marijuana is relatively harmless compared to hard drugs, including tobacco and alcohol. - There is no hard evidence of irreversible organic or mental damage from the consumption of marijuana. - There is no hard evidence that cannabis consumption induces psychosis. (i.e. makes you goofy.) - Cannabis is not an addictive substance. - The consumption of marijuana probably does not lead to "hard drug" use for the vast majority of consumers. - Marijuana does not make people more violent. - Health related costs of cannabis use are negligible when compared to the costs attributable to tobacco and alcohol consumption. It's obvious, isn't it? Pass the Oreos. A large number of cocaine users would likely turn to pot if it were legalized and the penalties for coke use and trafficking were made extreme. Think of the tax money, dollars and sense that could be used for addiction treatment of any kind. It will happen some day, but not before we stand around for a while with our hands in our pockets and our heads in the sand. Not before many more lives are ruined. Published: Sunday, March 19, 2000 Copyright  2000, Canoe Limited Partnership. CannabisNews Articles from Canada & The Edmonton Sun:http://www.google.com/search?q=cannabisnews+canadahttp://www.google.com/search?q=cannabisnews+edmonton+sun
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on March 19, 2000 at 08:26:26 PT:
In the proverbial nutshell
'And speaking of marijuana - in a hushed voice, of course - let me play the devil's advocate. My mom used to say, "This place is going to pot." She didn't mean it this way, but would that be such a bad thing? Canada's police chiefs don't think so. They've gone on record as saying they'd like to see weed decriminalized. Too much hassle for something that does so little harm.'Exactly the same kind of statement a Dutch cop told me 13 years ago. Too bad the last people to get with it are the politicians.
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