Vice Squad
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Can We Please Stop Blaming the Pot?

Two news items caught my attention today.

The first is from Marion, Ohio where three teens were taken to the hospital after swallowing two bottles of cold syrup and 7 bottles of cough pills. A small amount of marijuana was found, and the teens were charged with possession. No mention of whether or not the teens had been smoking the marijuana by the way. I don't advocate teens using marijuana, but no one would even think about the possible criminalization of the over-the-counter cold remedies that sent these kids to the hospital. The more dangerous substances are, in the eyes of the law, simply not as large of a problem as the evil weed.

As an aside, I think we've discovered a new vice crime with this article. One of the teens was charged with one count of being an "unruly child." Soon perhaps we'll see forced counseling programs for those charged with unruliness and methadone-style clinics where Equal is used to wean kids off of sugar.

The second article comes to us from Canada, where, tragically, one teen died and another suffered permanent injuries as a result of taking Duragesic, a drug that's stronger than morphine and is used to treat chronic pain. The police blame the incident on the fact that the teens mixed their powerful prescription medicine with marijuana, a fact I find a little hard to swallow. There has never been a substantiated case of overdosing from marijuana. Further, there are no contraindications for using cannabis with other drugs. Again, I do not advocate teens using marijuana, and this story is indeed tragic. However, I think we need to focus on the real problem in this case - easy access to dangerous prescription drugs - instead of wasting time blaming an herb.

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