Juvenihil

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Being a teen sucks, #10

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#10: Weed = Meth = teenage pregnancy, STDs, squalid life of living on the streets.

Scare tactics. Anyone who has smoked pot will become a heroin addict, because didn’t you know that marijuana is the gateway drug? Also, being stoned means you have no control over yourself.

The high feels great, the side-effects are relatively minor– marijuana is simply too attractive for some teens to pass up. And because making a legitimate case against weed is difficult (just look at the conflicting scientific results that come up when you Google “marijuana harm studies”), groups like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America take an increasingly alarmist stance in their PSAs, creating horror stories that link getting high with stealing, shooting up, being slutty! Even the most plausible ads, like those that stress the “altered perception” that results from marijuana, are risible. So… why were we smoking this, again, if not to reach a different feeling from normality? Does this mean that consuming large quantities of alcohol impairs my judgment? Should I not drink, eat three pot brownies, and drive??

The majority of anti-marijuana campaigns insult my intelligence and that of my classmates. In junior year I attended a mandatory assembly on National Meth Awareness Day (yes, it does exist), which covered all drugs in one go (lumping together all designated drugs, another thing I dislike). Somewhere in the PowerPoint presentation came a slide illustrated with The Cycle of Drug Use, in this case, weed. It proclaimed that smoking leads to poverty, which leads to dealing and prostitution, which leads to homelessness and ultimately more drug use. As stated above, I dislike the way these campaigns equate casual smoking with these serious problems, as well as how the campaigns judge the aforementioned prostitution and homelessness as demonic, dehumanized evils. I know some people in the projects who are proof that most of us are only one or two disastrous instances away from losing our homes… a parent walks away, grandma needs medical care but has no insurance, mom loses her job… and many of the homeless in San Francisco are veterans who never received help with their mental illnesses, simple as that. Hard drug use is more of a side-effect than a cause of homelessness, let alone marijuana.

Smoking anything is bad for your lungs, and may increase your chances of getting lung cancer. If you smoke several joints a day for fifteen years, you might have a greater risk of getting a heart attack or having a stroke. And of course, if you blindly take anything and consume it, there’s a chance you’ll consume other things along with it. But though pot smoke may possibly be more toxic than tobacco smoke, people who smoke weed tend to inhale a lot less than cigarette smokers– one wouldn’t smoke sixty blunts a day, the equivalent of three packs– thus diminishing the total toxicity in weed smokers’ lungs. And weed happens to be the least addictive of drugs: social addiction, yes; physical addiction, not likely. So the moral of this story is that anti-drug groups have to exert a lot of effort to market marijuana to teens as unattractive, and do so at the expense of logical, scientific, and journalistic integrity.

P.S. On that same Meth Day assembly, the speaker concluded that drinking alcohol is a valued tradition because the Romans drank wine, but that opium and marijuana are crass because they don’t have the same historical weight. Yeah… Eurocentrism, much?

Written by jane

March 28, 2009 at 1:01 PM

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