January 11, 2007
Health Effects Of Pot Get Short Shrift: Bummer, Man

With misplaced pride, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial board today notes that our metro area ranks second out of the 15 largest nationwide in illicit drug use, including marijuana. Absent from the P-I's encomium to being stoned in Seattle is any mention of the increasingly-recognized harmful mental and medical health effects of marijuana. Sure, an occasional spliff or few tokes is usually pretty harmless. Besides, how else could one stomach The Flaming Lips? Habitual use is another matter, according to a range of journal articles.

Pulmonary specialist D.P. Tashkin of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA reports:

...regular marijuana smoking produces a number of long-term pulmonary consequences, including chronic cough and sputum, histopathologic evidence of widespread airway inflammation and injury and immunohistochemical evidence of dysregulated growth of respiratory epithelial cells, that may be precursors to lung cancer. The THC in marijuana could contribute to some of these injurious changes through its ability to augment oxidative stress, cause mitochondrial dysfunction, and inhibit apoptosis....Habitual use of marijuana is also associated with abnormalities in the structure and function of alveolar macrophages, including impairment in microbial phagocytosis and killing that is associated with defective production of immunostimulatory cytokines and nitric oxide, thereby potentially predisposing to pulmonary infection. In view of the growing interest in medicinal marijuana, further epidemiologic studies are needed to clarify the true risks of regular marijuana smoking on respiratory health.

Pass the bong, dude. Because along with all that chronic cough, sputum, airway inflammation and lung cancer risk, well, hell.....it's cool to go crazy, too.

Scottish researchers reporting in The Journal Of Psychopharmacology confirmed worrisome links between regular, early use of pot and psychosis. Surveying 11 carefully-selected studies, they concluded:

Early use of cannabis did appear to increase the risk of psychosis. For psychotic symptoms, a dose-related effect of cannabis use was seen, with vulnerable groups including individuals who used cannabis during adolescence, those who had previously experienced psychotic symptoms, and those at high genetic risk of developing schizophrenia. In conclusion, the available evidence supports the hypothesis that cannabis is an independent risk factor, both for psychosis and the development of psychotic symptoms. Addressing cannabis use, particularly in vulnerable populations, is likely to have beneficial effects on psychiatric morbidity.

Considering the policy implications of the connection between regular cannabis use and development of psychoses, Australian researchers writing in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry sound the alarm.

The observational evidence and biological plausibility of the hypothesis that cannabis is a contributory cause of psychosis is at least as strong as evidence for causal relations between heavy alcohol and amphetamine use and psychosis. On public health grounds, there is a good case for discouraging cannabis use among adolescents and young adults. It remains uncertain how best to discourage use and at whom campaigns to reduce cannabis use should be targeted. We should discourage young adults seeking treatment in mental health services from using cannabis and inform them of the probable mental health risks of cannabis use, especially of early and frequent use. We must exercise caution in liberalizing cannabis laws in ways that may increase young individuals' access to cannabis, decrease their age of first use, or increase their frequency of cannabis use. We should consider the feasibility of reducing the availability of high-potency cannabis products.

Once pot-induced psychosis occurs, it often recurs.

Danish researchers reporting their study in the British Journal of Psychiatry tracked for three years 535 patients treated for "cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms" and found 77.2% had "a new psychotic episode" and a subset of 44.5% specifically developed schizophrenia. They concluded "cannabis-induced psychotic disorders are of great clinical and prognostic importance."

And costly to taxpayers as well.

Reporting in Developmental Psychology on social outcomes of significant adolescent marijuana use among a sample of African-American males, Johns Hopkins researchers found:

Use of marijuana 20 times or more during adolescence was associated with being unemployed and unmarried in young adulthood and having children outside of marriage for both males and females. Dropping out of high school and more frequent adult marijuana use seem to be important parts of the pathway from adolescent marijuana use to negative life outcomes.

An organization called HomoHealth also warns of the effects of regular pot use.

As with cigarettes, smoking marijuana over time can cause heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema. Supporters of medical marijuana recommend that you eat it rather than smoke it. The Betty Crocker brownie route is much safer for your lungs.

UC-SF researchers report in the American Journal of Cardiology that them munchies are more than a punchline. Looking at 15 years of longitudinal data in the Coronary Artery Risk Development In Young Adults study, they concluded:

In conclusion, although marijuana use was not independently associated with cardiovascular risk factors, it was associated with other unhealthy behaviors, such as high caloric diet, tobacco smoking, and other illicit drug use, which all have long-term detrimental effects on health.

Finally, guys, here's....ah.....a very special reason to park that waterpipe in the garbage.

Adult dialog about the real costs of marijuana to individuals, families and society is not allowed in Seattle, and other "progressive" cities, despite important and worrisome findings. If that intellectual flacidity is to change, media will have help spur the dialog.

Certainly, there is no shortage of reporting and advocacy on the sexier marijuana legalization debate. In a 2003 ballot initiative Seattle voters by a 58% majority directed local police to make arrests for possession of small adult personal stashes a low priority. The electorate thus put their stamp of approval not only on admittedly less harmful occasional personal pot use; but also on marijuana addiction and the substantial medical and mental health and social costs detailed above by researchers. No real cost-benefit analysis has occured here, although it is necessary.

The sobering policy implications are clear. If we legalize pot and perhaps also other drugs such as meth, heroin, and cocaine (which all have their own gnarly medical literature) we should not only mandate printed warnings on packages, we should take the FULL libertarian route. Meaning people assume the risks on their own. No taxpayer-funded medical or mental health treatment for symptoms determined by impartial clinical analysis to have substantially resulted from drug abuse. Drug-testing for social service aid recipients would be smart, too.

"The Man" doesn't make anybody take drugs. It is an individual choice, based on an often-flawed understanding of the costs and benefits.

And - despite the inevitably contrary caterwauling of institutionalized shills for victimology - addiction is not a disease.

It is a failure of the will.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at January 11, 2007 11:10 AM | Email This
Comments
1. Given what passes for common sense editorial comment at the PI, overwhelmingly grounded in irrational liberalism and partisan political agendas, perhaps the editorial board doesn't recognize the harmful effects of marijuana because the drug has already done its damage to their minds.

Liberalism is a mental disorder... or possibly one of the results of illicit drug use?

Posted by: MJC on January 11, 2007 10:54 AM
2. Pot should have been made legal decades ago. In fact, it should NEVER have been made illegal in the first place. What we have now is the continuance of Prohibition and the creation of a jobs program for groups like the DEA. The war on drugs has simply been a way to employ people who probably woudn't fit-in anywhere else, and it has beena dismal failure.

If there are bad effects on health from smoking pot, then that's the risk those that smoke it take. But it should be their right to decide whether or not to accept those risks and engage in the behavior. Government, stay out of it!

Posted by: Libertarian on January 11, 2007 10:54 AM
3. Libertarian @2; Yes, but if so, we must specify that people really bear the risks and costs of legalized drugs on their own.

"The sobering policy implications are clear. If we legalize pot and perhaps also other drugs such as meth, heroin, and cocaine (which all have their own gnarly medical literature) we should not only mandate printed warnings on packages, we should take the FULL libertarian route. Meaning people assume the risks on their own. No taxpayer-funded medical or mental health treatment for symptoms determined by impartial clinical analysis to have substantially resulted from drug abuse. Drug-testing for social service aid recipients would be smart, too."

Posted by: Matt R. on January 11, 2007 11:01 AM
4. While I appreciate Matt's final comments in this post about assuming responsibility for one's own drug use (I'm big on personal responsibility)...

I gotta say - come on! I'm going on THIRTY TWO years of habitual pot smoking - and I'm healthier, more level-headed and stable than most folks! So much so that I've had a life-long problem of ATTRACTING the unstable and flaky (those looking to cling to a more stable person)..and these folks didn't smoke pot.

Thanks for the reminder to join NORMAL. Legalize it NOW!

Posted by: ALP on January 11, 2007 11:02 AM
5. Oh, one more thing...

I'd LOVE to know how much $$$ was spent to "discover" pot-smokers hack! I could have told you all about it for half the cost!

Posted by: ALP on January 11, 2007 11:10 AM
6. I am with you libertarian; that is until the Guthrie campaign and a realization of all libertarian. No thanks.

Make the stuff legal and regulate it. Coughs, spatum, restricted lung capacity, increased potential for cancer- hmmm, sounds like cigarettes.

ALPs post was one of the funniest yet today. Second paragraph was the best.

Posted by: swatter on January 11, 2007 11:11 AM
7. If pot is to remain illegal, then alcohol must be made illegal, too. After all, alcohol is a drug, too, that may or may not have harmful effects on those who consume it.

Let's not by hypocrites about this. If pot is illegal, then booze should be illegal, also.

Posted by: Libertarian on January 11, 2007 11:12 AM
8. #2 in drug use. #4 in bank robberies. Tops in the nation with car thefts. Sex crimes in the news almost daily!

It's obvious there aren't enough cops and the few there are aren't doing their jobs!!

Drug users, bank robbers, car thieves and sex offenders - it's not their fault!!! They're forced to do what they do by mean-spirited conservatives!!!!

Posted by: Tyler Durden on January 11, 2007 11:32 AM
9. Personally, I don't care what you do to yourself or do for recreation. But don't expect me to bail your butt out if you manage to do something really stupid.

Go ahead, light up and be a stoner. No different than being an alcoholic.

Posted by: H Moul on January 11, 2007 11:43 AM
10. OK, listen up all you flip-flop wearing, flannel-loving, bearded latte-swilling, so-called Progressive uber-Lib dopers. I'll support any law you put forward to legalize your precious drugs as long as it has three riders:
1. A rider that allows me to shoot you (of course I mean use reasonable force) when your addiction causes you to break into my home and steal my property to underwrite your habit. (Note, I'm gonna do this anyway.)
2. A rider that allows me to sue your butt off if while under the influece, you do something that injures me or any member of my family. (Note, I'm gonna do this too!)
3. A rider that reinstates my right to go to my favorite bar (that isn't a casino), order a glass of single malt and light up one of my Cohibas.

Posted by: Diogenes on January 11, 2007 12:00 PM
11. "No different than being an alcoholic."

Hmm, let's see. A true alcoholic stops drinking and experiences a variety withdrawal symptoms like shakes, the sweats and in severe cases, DT's. An alcoholic can commit violent or destructive acts - and not even remember they did them due to blackouts. A pregnant women who is an alcoholic may bear an infant with fetal alcohol syndrome. A true alcoholic depends so much on alcohol, they may cease eating enough to support minimal health. Just for good measure, a simple DRUNK is quite capable of considerable damage to life, limb and property due to the nature of alcohol's effects.

Yeah..no difference between a stoner and an alcoholic AT ALL!

Posted by: ALP on January 11, 2007 12:09 PM
12. Oh dear god, Matt, you can't be serious. The only thing I can't figure out yet is whether I'm going to post the thorough and complete dismantling of this idiocy at Reload or Effin' Unsound.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 12:09 PM
13. OK, listen up all you flip-flop wearing, flannel-loving, bearded latte-swilling, so-called Progressive uber-Lib dopers. I'll support any law you put forward to legalize your precious drugs as long as it has three riders:
1. A rider that allows me to shoot you (of course I mean use reasonable force) when your addiction causes you to break into my home and steal my property to underwrite your habit. (Note, I'm gonna do this anyway.)
2. A rider that allows me to sue your butt off if while under the influece, you do something that injures me or any member of my family. (Note, I'm gonna do this too!)
3. A rider that reinstates my right to go to my favorite bar (that isn't a casino), order a glass of single malt and light up one of my Cohibas.

Diogenes, that's a deal in a heartbeat.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 12:11 PM
14. Typical leftist response: "Ban trans-fats. Legalize pot!"

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on January 11, 2007 12:13 PM
15. Oh, and Diogenes, in case you weren't aware, the percentage of registered Republicans who supported Washington's smoking ban was higher than the percentage of registered Democrats.

Also, in a recent survey that asked people whether smoking cigarettes should be illegal, the demographic that most said that cigarettes should be illegal were self-described conservatives under the age of 30.

If you're mad at liberals about the smoking ban, you're barking up the wrong tree.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 12:15 PM
16. thehim,

Thanks for pointing out that personal rights come with personal responsibilities. I have no problems with people smoking dope. That's their business. If they get ill or have wasted lives from pot smoking, that's their business, too.

Posted by: Libertarian on January 11, 2007 12:20 PM
17. There are leftists here? Where?

Forgive my ignorance - I'm assuming "Cohibas" is a cigar?

I'm still shaking my head over the smoking ban. When I was waiting for the bus one morning, there was a guy trying to get sigs for that initiative. It was all I could do not the rip him a new a-hole - and I'm an ex-smoker that HATES cig smoke.

Finally, in response to the "cost" of pot smoking..our system is already being bled dry by the obsese and inactive, so don't look at me. I'm fitter than most people in general, and fitter than most women my age!

Posted by: ALP on January 11, 2007 12:21 PM
18. Holy crap, I've already found about a half-dozen flat-out factual errors. Matt, please stick to blogging about how afraid you are of brown people, it's the only thing you're qualified to talk about.

Sweet jesus, this is funny.

ALP, cohibas is a cigar, one made by stinking leftists, no less!

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 12:28 PM
19. Libertarian,
You know where I'm at. I'm on the left when it comes to a lot of issues, but I absolutely hate the nanny state.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 12:30 PM
20. Seattle is blazing new paths, leading at the National Cultural war-front in:

1) Illegal Drug Use
2) Motor Vehicle Theft
3) Bank Robberies
4) Easy Sentences
5) Liberal, Feel-Good Nonsense
6) Over-Taxation
7) Traffic Gridlock
8) $Billion Boondoggles
9) Education Establishment Under-Achievement

Did I miss anything?

Everyone: Click your Ruby Slippers together three times and repeat the mantra...

Posted by: Jefferson Paine on January 11, 2007 12:30 PM
21. Libertarian @7.

If we legalize pot (using the reverse of your argument in post #7) then how do we deal with the following issues?

1) What right do we have to deny those who choose to enjoy opium smoking? Shall we allow pot plants to be smoked, but not opium plant resin to be smoked? After all, in some parts of the world opium is smoked on a regular basis.

2) What about chewing coca leaves? Coca leaves are a plant just like pot. Shall we allow pot plants to be smoked, but not coca leaves to be chewed? After all, folks in South America have been chewing coca leaves for generations with no problems, right?

3) What about the peyote cactus (mescaline)? What about psychedelic mushrooms, Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina fungus (all natural hallucinogens)? What about Harmine (obtained from the seeds of Peganum harmala, another all natural hallucinogen). What about DMT, dimethyltryptamine (another all natural hallucinogen )? Other natural plant drugs?

Posted by: Marty on January 11, 2007 12:31 PM
22. MArty,

I'm pretty open to legalization across-the-board. If a person choose to enjoy a drug and not interfere with others, so be it. If he or she chooses to enjoy a drug and can't behave themselves, well, I'm OK with that person being slapped down.

Posted by: Libertarian on January 11, 2007 12:34 PM
23. 1) What right do we have to deny those who choose to enjoy opium smoking? Shall we allow pot plants to be smoked, but not opium plant resin to be smoked? After all, in some parts of the world opium is smoked on a regular basis.

You shouldn't have a right to deny those who enjoy opium smoking. Especially outside of the U.S. This is why the Taliban keeps getting stronger in Afghanistan.

2) What about chewing coca leaves? Coca leaves are a plant just like pot. Shall we allow pot plants to be smoked, but not coca leaves to be chewed? After all, folks in South America have been chewing coca leaves for generations with no problems, right?

We shouldn't be stopping people (especially in other countries) from chewing coca leaves if that's what they do. This is why Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, and much of South America are becoming very popular by thumbing their nose at us.

3) What about the peyote cactus (mescaline)? What about psychedelic mushrooms, Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina fungus (all natural hallucinogens)? What about Harmine (obtained from the seeds of Peganum harmala, another all natural hallucinogen). What about DMT, dimethyltryptamine (another all natural hallucinogen )? Other natural plant drugs?

People have been using those drug safely for centuries. Why on earth are you so afraid of them. It's like the proverbial elephant who's afraid of a mouse. You look ridiculous.

America is losing wars and influence because it's trying to be a nanny to the rest of the world (pot was not illegal in most of the world until the Nixon administration pushed certain regulations through the UN that strong-armed other countries into banning it). There's no reason for this crap.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 12:39 PM
24. "Yeah..no difference between a stoner and an alcoholic AT ALL!"

I'm glad you see my point that throwing your life away to be any sort of addict is stupid and your own fault. We allow alcoholics to kill themselves over the long term, stoners should have the same "right".

Whatever happened to the concept of "personal responsibility"?

Posted by: H Moul on January 11, 2007 12:48 PM
25. H Moul,
What about the woman in India who is currently the oldest woman in the world, but also still smokes marijuana every day? Is she killing herself over the long term?

Many, many people smoke marijuana in moderate amounts and live normal lives, just as many, many people drink alcohol in moderate amounts and live normal lives. The fact that one is illegal is a monumental hypocrisy in our society.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 12:52 PM
26. H Moul - who's throwing a life away? I'm college educated, have been supporting myself for years, paid taxes for years, never asked anything from the "system"(with the exception of student loan stuff-paid in full thank you very much and well ahead of schedule), have thousands of $$$ circulating in the economy via investments and savings, am exceptionally financially stable (I have an income/debt ratio that most would kill for) - I'm pretty much the "boring establishment" in the eyes of many.

If that's "throwing a life away" - well, I'm gonna keep on "throwing"!!!!

Posted by: ALP on January 11, 2007 12:54 PM
27. thehim,

Actually most of my cigar buddies are Dems so our conversations are lively and now, sadly, confined to my deck. Since they are Dems, they prefer to come drink my single malt rather than share any of their own.
Cohibas are made by both the Cuban-based commie bastards (The cohiba is the ONLY thing Che gave the world that is worth a damn), and by their LatAm cousins. Personally, I think the Cuban variant is failing.
And thanks too for the data on Party affiliation and the smoking ban. I'll be the first to agree the GOP is on its butt in this State. I brought this up at my caucus, but the other two attendees had already left. As it is, I am only angry with those who voted for it.

Posted by: Diogenes on January 11, 2007 12:58 PM
28. thehim @15 -

You omitted some items essential to evaluating the soundness of your claim:
1) The actual percentage of registered Dems supporting the measure;
2) The actual percentage of registered Repubs supporting the measure;
3) The actual percentage of unregistered Dems, etc;
4) The actual percentage of unregistered Repubs, etc;
5) The actual numbers of each of 1) - 4).

I doubt that the percentage of supporters identifying themselves as Repubs is greater than the percentage of those identifying themselves as Dems, but I'm open to be persuaded otherwise, if borne out by the facts.

Posted by: ewaggin on January 11, 2007 01:00 PM
29. Shrinkage????

Posted by: George Costanza on January 11, 2007 01:01 PM
30. i'm just waiting for the pro drug nuts running this state to allow plain old Vodka to be sold at the grocery store

Posted by: righton on January 11, 2007 01:04 PM
31. thehim @ #25, "What about the woman in India who is currently the oldest woman in the world, but also still smokes marijuana every day?"

Link to back up this claim, please?

Also I'd like to see the source for "more Republicans than Democrats voted for the smoking ban"

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on January 11, 2007 01:06 PM
32. Ewaggin,
I have never seen data for 3-4, but I spoke with someone on the I-901 campaign who revealed to me (and you can believe this or not, but I believe it because this person would have had a motivation to tell me the opposite) that their polling showed that a higher percentage of registered Republicans were planning to vote for it than registered Democrats.

I can produce the evidence online for the second survey if you want. That one was pretty recent and all over the libertarian blogs.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 01:08 PM
33. Righton,
You mean like in Michigan? You could get vodka at the supermarket there.

Cruchon, I just looked it up, and guess what? She died in December. Weed is one nasty drug. Although her exact age is still a mystery. Her daughter is 92.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 01:13 PM
34. Am I the only one here that can tell the difference between a stoner and someone that smokes a little weed every now and then? The term "stoner" implies habitual heavy use, just like alcohlic does.

But then, if you weren't high all the time your reading comprehension would be better. You would also have figured out that I have nothing against legalizing ANY or ALL drugs. It's your life to do with as you want - just don't let your lifestyle choices infringe upon mine.

Posted by: H Moul on January 11, 2007 01:15 PM
35. H Moul,
I certainly misread your comment. My apologies.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 01:18 PM
36. Now there's a credible source, "grasscity.com"

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on January 11, 2007 01:19 PM
37. "The cohiba is the ONLY thing Che gave the world that is worth a damn"

Am I the only one that sees a hellva T-shirt or bumper sticker in that quote?

Posted by: ALP on January 11, 2007 01:27 PM
38. Washington State schools have a 40% drop out rate, we're fourth in the nation for bank robberies and lead the region in car theft, I'd say Seattle's "progressive" economy is working just as planned. Business is booming! (Although this may explain Seattle's WASL scores....)

Posted by: Doc-T on January 11, 2007 01:29 PM
39. My SO of 13 yrs (hey, a pothead and in a stable relationship too..) relayed the story of the lady in India that smoked the huge spliff and had sherry every day. I think it was a radio piece - maybe even NPR (I keep telling him not to listen to that crap, but I haven't been able to convince him yet).

I may poke around the web for the story - I'm sure it would be in India Times or other paper from the area...

Posted by: ALP on January 11, 2007 01:30 PM
40. I don't get high and a love the Flaming Lips. Obviously you've never attended one of their shows. Keep your tight-assed politics to yourself. Hell Yeah.

Posted by: JoDe Dietsch on January 11, 2007 01:31 PM
41. I don't get high and a love the Flaming Lips. Obviously you've never attended one of their shows. Keep your tight-assed politics to yourself. Hell Yeah.

Posted by: JoDe Dietsch on January 11, 2007 01:32 PM
42. I don't get high and a love the Flaming Lips. Obviously you've never attended one of their shows. Keep your tight-(word that prevent original post) politics to yourself. (Word that prevented original post) Yeah.

Posted by: JoDe Dietsch on January 11, 2007 01:33 PM
43. I don't get high and a love the Flaming Lips. Obviously you've never attended one of their shows. Keep your tight-(word that prevented original post) politics to yourself. (Word that prevented original post) Yeah.

Posted by: JoDe Dietsch on January 11, 2007 01:33 PM
44. While ideally I would agree with Libertarian, and legalize the stuff, there are other issues at stake.

What about hold the user responsible? That is well and good, however the effects of drugs go far beyond the individual user.

Just the 3 foster kids in my home.

3 kids all from drug affected, drug using parents, who because of the drugs are unable to care for children, then go beyond neglect to abuse.

When we make decisions of drugs we must take into consideration the cost to society. The cost of the parents drug use for our foster kids if you factor in the case workers, infrastructure at DSHS the courts as well as direct cost is easily over a million dollars, for 3 kids!

Drugs are different we should recognize that.

A person can use alcohol without long term effects and proper use short term effects can be minimized.

Meth however permanently alters brain chemistry with the first use!

It is simply not rational to treat the two the same.

If we go the libertarian route, which I would ideally prefer, let's punish severely, harshly, and quickly the user when ever the drug use, alcohol to meth, impacts any one other than themselves.

Drive drunk, 5 years first offense.
Drive drunk, get in an accident, 10 years.
Drive drunk, hurt someone, 15 years
Drive drunk, kill someone life.
Use drunk while pregnant, 5 years and sterilization.
Use drugs and neglect or abuse a child, 15 years, sterilization.
Have drugs in your system and commit another crime, add 10 years.

No BS about illness, addiction, the drugs made them do it. The presence of drugs in their systems is prima facia evidence with no mitigation.

The point is with liberty comes responsibility. Drug use in not responsible. It damages the individual, the family and society.
While society provides liberty, it also can demand of it's members behaviors that do not damage the whole.

Liberty is not license.

Posted by: JCM on January 11, 2007 01:34 PM
45. JCM: I am so glad to see another person with the guts to mention sterilization as a consequence of behavior that harms children.

Posted by: ALP on January 11, 2007 01:39 PM
46. personally i think pot was banned only because the government could not tax it and make a profit of of it because it is sold by dealers on the streets and in homes

Posted by: Casey on January 11, 2007 01:46 PM
47. personally i think pot was banned only because the government could not tax it and make a profit of of it because it is sold by dealers on the streets and in homes

Posted by: Casey on January 11, 2007 01:46 PM
48. Expand death penalty to cover all drug-related crimes. Include organ-harvesting as part of punishment...

Posted by: DrAmazing on January 11, 2007 01:56 PM
49. Apparently, the posting of comments to the SP blog is even too slow for the potheads!!

;~)

Posted by: BRC on January 11, 2007 01:57 PM
50. "David Geffen" School of Medicine? thanks for being (presumably) a sponsor.

but--how about benefactor/producer/moneyman Geffen's political tilt? dosent matter? maybe not, but i'd sure know where MY bread was buttered.

paranoid right comment? maybe, but using a Hollywood left product's phrase "show me the money!" trust everyone. love everyone. but frisk everyone & count your change.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on January 11, 2007 01:59 PM
51. Ummm....

Who in their right (sober) mind would want organs harvested from druggies??

????????

Posted by: BRC on January 11, 2007 02:00 PM
52. To my libertarian friend...

If each person were an island, then I say, knock yourself out with whatever tunes you in and turns you on. But, since life has little details such as kids, neighbors, co-workers, fellow drivers and the like, indulging your narcissistic ass with everything short of Drano isn't the victimless action you like to make it out to be. So, do we legalize Meth too? Why not? Who decides what is a good drug and or bad drug?

Do those that imbibe a little too much walk around with a "Med-Alert" tag that says, "I am a drug abuser, If I get into trouble, please let me puke in the street, crap my pants and leave me alone. Don't call 911. I indemnify the taxpayer, so they don't have to pay for rehab, etc. I also promise never to get behind the wheel of my car or operate machinery when a particularly good substance sends orbiting around Mars. And if I do, I will promptly pay, without legal challenge, any damage claims that arise from my actions." Fat Chance.

Then there is the issue of the innocents. Perhaps you would like to reassemble the shattered lives and permanent tragedies of the children of these cretins--which I have. I myself had the "joy" of being raised by a substance-abusing parent. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. And you and your ilk want to open the floodgates? From the bottom of my heart, Go to hell, my friend.

Are you REALLY willing to embrace a Brave New Word and ALL the bitter harvests it will bring?

Party on, Dude!

SAM

Posted by: Samuel Huntington on January 11, 2007 02:12 PM
53. Matt,

I could not agree more about addiction not being a disease. Humans are volitionally conscious beings, which is a fancy way of saying that we can always make our own choices. If one is capable of waiting until the walk signal before crossing a busy street, then one is capable of quitting drug use, or at bare minimum going to someone else for help in quitting drug use. There is no doubt that drugs, and some drugs in particular inspire a very strong desire to use them again and again, but humans have the ability to transcend the instinctual and or pleasurable thoughts with more rational ones at any point. It's also true that it is possible to become so completely altered by overuse of a drug as to become incapacitated, but it is impossible to remain completely incapacitated and under the influence for a long period of time without passing out or otherwise falling asleep from exhaustion, dehydration, lack of nutrition, etc. So provided that one does not die outright from overdose, etc. once one regains consciousness, there will always be the rational mind there to provide one more opportunity to make a better choice, rather than a worse one.

Addiction is a lie to create more victims.

As for the drugs, the effect of certain drugs are so severe, that widespread availability would probably be impossible. Driving drunk is bad enough, imagine a lot of people driving on heroin or meth. Even though I think marijuana use is another form of smoking that in an of itself will have some detrimental effects, that should be legalized to thwart the waste of police and other government resources. It just makes good economic sense to minimize the government waste in fighting the "war on drugs" by selectively legalizing some drugs. But it seems to also be unworkable to have a completely open and libertarian "legalization" policy towards all drugs, especially those that are inhaled. Imagine having to worry about not just the smoker, but wether you were inhaling second-hand heroin smoke. No thanks.

Bottom line, idiots use drugs, but there's nothing inherently illegal or wrong with being stupid. We should strive to find some middle ground that prevents the proliferation of really dangerous drugs and the costs associated with illegal activity surrounding more benign drugs. The problem is not going away, because if the percentage of people that believe "Bush blew up the Trade Centers" is any indicator, there are a lot of idiots out there.

Posted by: Jeff B. on January 11, 2007 03:13 PM
54. Samuel Huntington,

The War on Drugs ain't workin' now, pardner, and I doubt it will ever be "won." (Whatever THAT means!)

It's time to come to the realization that some folks like to enjoy pot and to legalize it for those that do. If alcohol continues to be legal, pot should be legal. All this prohibition has done is to promote the growth of organized crime. I'll leave it up to the individual as to whether they choose to smoke pot or not. There should be no law against the activity.

Personal freedom is dangerous because it means a person has to have personal responsibility, too.

Posted by: Libertarian on January 11, 2007 03:14 PM
55. We have a friend that is a parapallegic due to a logging accident. The only thing that truly keeps his legs from spasming is pot. Valium is a very poor substitute. He spent a little time in the county jail for his use of it but finally got a license to grow it for his personal use. And it is truly effective. It's high time (no pun intended) that we stop pretending that there are no medical uses for pot. Let's free up jail space and let our policemen deal with real crime.

Posted by: Teri Pittman on January 11, 2007 03:37 PM
56. If each person were an island, then I say, knock yourself out with whatever tunes you in and turns you on. But, since life has little details such as kids, neighbors, co-workers, fellow drivers and the like, indulging your narcissistic ass with everything short of Drano isn't the victimless action you like to make it out to be.

What a full-throated endorsement of the nanny state! So when do we ban cheeseburgers and soda? I mean, you could potentially feed your kid too much of that bad stuff, and we don't want any of that!

So, do we legalize Meth too? Why not?

The supply of meth should be controlled by pharmacists. Addicts can register as addicts and get treatment so that they don't steal from me to buy it from the overpriced black market. This approach has been shown to cost taxpayers less than it costs to lock people up in jail.

Who decides what is a good drug and or bad drug?

Not the government, unless it can be shown that a specific person can not decide for themself.

Do those that imbibe a little too much walk around with a "Med-Alert" tag that says, "I am a drug abuser, If I get into trouble, please let me puke in the street, crap my pants and leave me alone. Don't call 911. I indemnify the taxpayer, so they don't have to pay for rehab, etc. I also promise never to get behind the wheel of my car or operate machinery when a particularly good substance sends orbiting around Mars. And if I do, I will promptly pay, without legal challenge, any damage claims that arise from my actions." Fat Chance.

People who do things under the influence should absolutely be held responsible for their actions. As far as treatment goes, I'd be happy to dig up a number of studies that have shown that treating drug addiction as a public health problem is less costly to taxpayers than treating it as a criminal problem. California has been saving billions because of Prop 36, which requires treatment over incarceration. I do not like my tax dollars wasted. Period.

Then there is the issue of the innocents. Perhaps you would like to reassemble the shattered lives and permanent tragedies of the children of these cretins--which I have. I myself had the "joy" of being raised by a substance-abusing parent. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. And you and your ilk want to open the floodgates? From the bottom of my heart, Go to hell, my friend.

Well, did prohibition do anything to stop your mom/dad from doing those things? If we had a system that didn't criminalize drug use, but instead sought to get help for addicts, you would have been better off.

Posted by: thehim on January 11, 2007 04:16 PM
57. Seems like if you willfully and habitually ingest a substance, the result cannot be called a disease.

My biggest beef is classifying alcoholism a disability. When you hear the transients say they are going to pick up their checks, it isn't their pension checks they're talking about; it's their guv'mint SSI checks for being disabled by alcohol. And guess what they use the money for? One of the biggest reasons for Social Security's approaching insolvency.

Posted by: Organization Man on January 11, 2007 04:50 PM
58. Do you think if marijuana growing was legal, my two rentals that were burned down by a$$e$ with grow operations would have been covered by insurance?

Legalize it or not, either way it costs much more to more people than you realize. Long term, it would be a disaster to our younger generation in proportions greater than video games or mtv.

Posted by: Doug on January 11, 2007 05:03 PM
59. weed should have been legalized a long time ago. matt....have you considered what prohibition does? it gave us the kennedys for god's sake. what is the weed prohibition going to give us? it makes very rich people out of swine. and it's pretty darn un-american too. we are supposed to be a free people, right? and that means free to make stupid decisions if we want. what's next? making it illegal to be fat? now there is a bigger problem [pun intended] especially health-wise, with obesity.
have you ever heard of anyone becoming violent after smoking weed? no? that's because it just doesn't happen [unless you are a twinkie and then you are screwed]
alcohol....absolutely.stupid AND violent are the "gifts" that alcohol gives us as a society.
and here in humboldt county [the weed capitol of america] we spend so much money supporting the anti weed cops and almost nothing to nail the meth labs. the REAL problem. a HUGE problem. and meth is always lethal and always dangerous. the "people" that use it are always dangerous and not really even human after a very short period...and yet, we still have this childish mindset of the "killer weed" silly movies of the 30's. good grief!
alcohol is the legal DRUG that causes more deaths and grief and is truly the "gateway" drug. so if you want to make things illegal then you should be fair right across the board....and wouldn't that be stupid? didn't we learn anything from prohibition?
education and societal parameters are the way to go.....teaching people that you can do ALMOST anything in moderation. teaching kids that their rights end where someone else's begin.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY.
and doug.....young people shouldn't be using ANY drugs. alcohol is a much bigger problem. alcohol should actually be illegal until the age of 25...which is when the brain is pretty much done "growing". but instead our government went with the "if he can be drafted and vote then why can't he drink" mindset. the age decision wasn't based on science at all. a real shame........

Posted by: christmasghost on January 11, 2007 06:15 PM
60. "1. A rider that allows me to shoot you (of course I mean use reasonable force) when your addiction causes you to break into my home and steal my property to underwrite your habit. (Note, I'm gonna do this anyway.)
2. A rider that allows me to sue your butt off if while under the influece, you do something that injures me or any member of my family. (Note, I'm gonna do this too!)
3. A rider that reinstates my right to go to my favorite bar (that isn't a casino), order a glass of single malt and light up one of my Cohibas."

Actually you can already do all but the last one, and well, good luck with that.

As for Weed, I have yet to see anything that differentiates it from smoking and drinking. Sure it has health effect, like just about every other enjoyable thing in the world. Like to eat meat, welcome to heart disease. How about some nice cheese plugging up your arteries. Driving can kill you awfully quick as can walking. Hell having a nice big tree in your yard can kill you in a wind storm. The fact is that we make choices everyday on these thing and we should have the right too. I know people who aren't happy unless they're hanging off a thousand foot rock face and I know others who think elevators are too dangerous.

If you don't think weed (or alcohol) is worth the risk then just say no, but leave me be if I want to smoke in my own house.

Posted by: Giffy on January 11, 2007 06:25 PM
61. And Doug yes it would have. Just as insurance would cover a candle fire, a cooking fire, or a cigarette fire. Lots of thins burn, that doesn't mena they should be illegal.

As for the young generation, guess what lots already smoke and please tell me how legal pot will have an effect worse then legal alcohol.

Posted by: Giffy on January 11, 2007 06:28 PM
62. I suppose that if one takes the libertarian or secular progressive view all drugs should be legalized. Society has been drawing lines for centuries about what behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Often these lines are drawn for the protection of the vulnerable. A couple of questions:

1. If an individual ODs and is dropped off at an ER, should we treat them? If they can't afford the cost- is society responsible?

2. What about the collateral damage in the form of children of abusers that are often neglected or left on the door steps of grandparents or other relatives? Check out the meth effect stats for the increasing number of abandoned children.

I know that people often point out the European experience, but recent studies indicate there is trouble in paradise.

How far is one individual allowed to go in pursuit of their own selfishness?

Posted by: WVH on January 11, 2007 09:53 PM
63. WVH: THANK YOU!

Posted by: katomar on January 11, 2007 10:49 PM
64. "1. If an individual ODs and is dropped off at an ER, should we treat them? If they can't afford the cost- is society responsible?"

Yes the moral obligation to help the suffering transcends the cause. This is true in most major religions, I don't recall Christ asking why the blind man was blind or the lame man could not walk. If someone is in medical need and you can provide care, you do so, period. No different then if someone injures themself by driving to fast.

Now I would have no problem taxing a legalized substance (alcohol included) to pay for the costs it causes.

"2. What about the collateral damage in the form of children of abusers that are often neglected or left on the door steps of grandparents or other relatives? Check out the meth effect stats for the increasing number of abandoned children."

By that logic we should make alcohol illegal, or gambling, or credit card.s The are always people who will do stupid thing. Most studies do seem to show that while use may increase when something is legalized, abuse tends not to. You cannot stop people from using drugs, but you can control it.

Posted by: Giffy on January 12, 2007 08:42 AM
65. 1. If an individual ODs and is dropped off at an ER, should we treat them? If they can't afford the cost- is society responsible?

Yes, we should treat them. And for you to complain about the cost is beyond silly since the cost of prosecuting them as criminals and putting them in jail is considerably higher.

2. What about the collateral damage in the form of children of abusers that are often neglected or left on the door steps of grandparents or other relatives?

What about it? That happens now. If you believe that legalizing marijuana is going to increase that, you either have a very strange understanding of marijuana, or you're making a lot of very odd assumptions that I don't follow. America has the strictest drug laws in the first world, but it also has the highest numbers of drug abusers. Why do you think that is? Could it possibly be because treating drug abuse as a criminal act is counterproductive?

Check out the meth effect stats for the increasing number of abandoned children.

Yes, and this is a direct consequence of treating meth addicts as criminals. If you treat meth addiction as a medical problem, you can take steps to break the addiction. This approach has worked for heroin (in Zurich, after they legalized heroin for addicts, the amount of new users plummeted 82% over the next 10 years), and it will work for meth. Keeping the supply of meth in a black market is what generates so many new users. Regulate the supply by having pharmacists control it and treat addicts for free, you solve that problem and you save taxpayers millions of dollars.

I know that people often point out the European experience, but recent studies indicate there is trouble in paradise.

I read through dozens of news articles on the drug war every week, and I'm not aware of this. Would you like to post a link? The most troublesome trend in Europe is that cocaine use is on the rise. Otherwise, they don't even have a fraction of the problems America does.

How far is one individual allowed to go in pursuit of their own selfishness?

According to our founding fathers, as far as they want to go. But no one wants to become a drug addict. Becoming a drug addict is not an act of selfishness, it's an act of stupidity. It's an act of self-destruction. If you believe that people who have the freedom to choose to live their lives are just going to become drug addicts, you have a very peculiar view of humanity.

Milton Friedman, the free market advocate, was a very strong opponent of the war on drugs. What he understood was that prohibition of addictive substances led to a place where those addictive substances were most dangerous. In a world where people are trusted to make decisions involving mind-altering substances, you won't have people doing meth or crack, because those drugs are absolutely horrible. The reason people do them now, though, is because a black market that forces people to conceal the substances makes them more potent per its size. This is the lesson to be learned. We've given mild forms of meth (amphetamines) to fighter pilots in the Air Force. Meth exists because since we don't trust adults with those things, the black market produces a much more potent and dangerous variant. If we re-legalize that, meth will probably go away after a few years. Who the hell would want to use it if they can just use milder, safer amphetamines?

Posted by: thehim on January 12, 2007 09:19 AM
66. Giffy and thehim:

1. The links:

http://portal.unesco.org/shs/en/ev.php-URL_ID=3020&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Click on a topic below

Drugs, the brain and reproductive function
Heroin distribution in Switzerland
International criticism of the Swiss heroin trials
Ecstasy and chemical warfare by Dr Gabriel Nahas
Medical marijuana scam by Grainne Kenny
Ouders een natuurlijke hindernis tegen drugs? by Renée Besseling
Scientific findings prove harms of "SOFT" drugs
Finland statistics
The value of "random student drug testing"
One in four at risk of Cannabis Psychosis. by Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt
CANNABIS - A cause for concern? by Mary Brett BSc (Hons) (UK)
2006 Click on a topic below

http://www.eurad.net/

2. Regarding your understanding of Christianity:

a. The Apostle Paul said under the new covenant that substances may be eaten in moderation and that many of the dietary laws did not have to be observed, the key is moderation in all things:

Titus 2:12 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

b. The misinterpretation that many make about Jesus is the meaning of love. Jesus was a tough love kind of guy. It is true he forgave sinners, but and this is what the libertarians and secular progressives miss in the forgiveness formula:

i. Repent
ii. Your sins are forgiven
iii. Sin no more

Christianity is based on forgiveness for a heart that is willing to change.

c. I asked the question about my responsibility for the voluntarty choice of some to place themselves in some degree of danger. It is my understanding of the libertarian/secular progressive stance that you want to be free to make all livestyle choices. Doesn't a conservative philosophy overlay mean that you are responsible for the cost of the choices? From a society perspective shouldn't you be allowed to die? Your argument is not based on being a Christian which would mean that if your heart was truly changed, you wouldn't be making those choices in the first place. Christianity is based upon a changed heart that accords with the Scripture.


Posted by: WVH on January 12, 2007 10:16 AM
67. thehim:

Excellent points made in all of your posts. Clear thinking like yours, and the ability to present a cogent argument, makes me feel better about wasting so much time on line. A great read.

Posted by: ALP on January 12, 2007 10:52 AM
68. Thehim, I'm with you on the marijuana issue, but not opiates, crack or meth. Can you post a link to the study you mention in which heroin use declined after it was legalized?

Drugs like crack or heroin are so dangerous and addictive, I cannot see its use declining with a more readily available supply. Each time someone tries it a couple of times, they have another addict. Granted, we have alot more information about the dangers of heroin and cocaine now, but it was legal in this country in the early part of the last century, and the number of addicts per capita was alot greater then than it is now.

I think it's also false that legalization of crack, meth or heroin would eliminate the black market for it. The government is not going to sell drugs in the type of doses or at the strengths you will find it on the street. It's too dangerous and it's irresponsible. The black market will then just sell the same drugs, but in much stronger doses to satiate the addicts' desires. Also, the likelihood that street addicts hold jobs to support their habits is pretty low, so that leads to crime. When that crime is stolen property that they trade for drugs, it surely will not come from a government source.

Posted by: Palouse on January 12, 2007 11:04 AM
69. WVH: Thanks for the links I will chack them out. Though the first one goes to a page on Migrants. Not sure if its a changed link or what. I am personally 100% in favor of legalizing drugs like Cannabis, mushrooms, and other soft drugs. As for harder drugs I am undecided, though I lean toward legalization because I think people should be able to make the choice themselves.

As for Christianity. I did not mean to imply that Christianity endorses drug use. What I was saying was that part of Christianity is to give help were needed. If someone shows up at a hospital and needs treatment the moral thing is to provide it, not only render aid if they didn't do anything wrong. This has nothing to do with sin or forgiveness ,but everything to do with simply helping people. Union Gospel Mission does not only feed those homeless because though no fault of their own, they offer help to everyone.

Posted by: Giffy on January 12, 2007 11:44 AM
70. ALP,
Thanks, I really appreciate that.

Palouse,
Can you post a link to the study you mention in which heroin use declined after it was legalized?

Gladly. Here's one of the news articles. In the 90s in Zurich, the local government took some steps to legalize heroin use as a way of treating addicts. Everyone said that it would cause the number of heroin users to skyrocket (especially people within the U.S. government). Instead, the opposite happened. Heroin use plummeted. The reason is because when you legalize it, young people no longer see heroin use as being a "cool" activity done by outlaws. They see at as something that sick people do in hospitals.

Drugs like crack or heroin are so dangerous and addictive, I cannot see its use declining with a more readily available supply.

And this is where you're not quite getting what is meant by legalization. Legalization, when describing decriminalization, means that the act of using heroin is not considered a criminal act, so if the supply is controlled within a medical environment, there won't be a more readily available supply. In fact, unless someone who is not addicted to heroin decides to walk into a heroin clinic to use it (who on earth would do that?), legalizing heroin would likely dry up the supply on the black market.

Each time someone tries it a couple of times, they have another addict.

Not necessarily. Studies have shown that it takes about a year for someone to become fully addicted to opiates. But once you reach that point, it's very difficult for most to quit. The key, as the Swiss have found, is to drive down the numbers of new users. But this solution is hard to do in the U.S. because too many people see it as "coddling" drug addicts. We need to get over that and start dealing with this rationally.

Granted, we have alot more information about the dangers of heroin and cocaine now, but it was legal in this country in the early part of the last century, and the number of addicts per capita was alot greater then than it is now.

That's completely incorrect. The number of heroin addicts in our society was miniscule before it was outlawed. Cocaine was more widely used, but that was because it was a common incredient in everything from soft drinks to wine to cough drops. However, the number of addicts, as we think of them now, people who habitually snort cocaine or smoke crack, was very small.

For a comparison (and if you want, I'll gladly provide the links), the U.S. outlawed heroin at the end of WWI. Britain didn't outlaw it until the 1950s. In the period inbetween, the number of America heroin addicts skyrocketed, while the number of British heroin addicts stayed the same. Now, both countries have large numbers of heroin addicts.

I think it's also false that legalization of crack, meth or heroin would eliminate the black market for it. The government is not going to sell drugs in the type of doses or at the strengths you will find it on the street. It's too dangerous and it's irresponsible. The black market will then just sell the same drugs, but in much stronger doses to satiate the addicts' desires.

There's some real debate about this. Although an addict is certainly going to go somewhere where they can get their fix for free rather than pay for something that they may think is stronger. I'm comfortable leaving it up to medical professionals to know how to handle dosage for addicts who've developed a greater tolerance for purer opiates. The question I have is that if, even after doing this, some small subset of the population still uses heroin recreationally, do we allow those people to purchase it through a pharmacy in order to undercut the black market? This is a major point of debate among drug policy reformers, but I think that if we do some basic steps (legalizing marijuana, setting up clinics for addicts), the benefits gained from those initial steps will make these questions not seem so scary any more.

Also, the likelihood that street addicts hold jobs to support their habits is pretty low, so that leads to crime. When that crime is stolen property that they trade for drugs, it surely will not come from a government source.

That's why addicts should just be able to go into a clinic and get their fix in a medical environment. The drugs themselves cost very little to grow and process, and it's been shown that having addicts get their fix in a clinic discourages new users. Why even charge, especially since the drop in property crime that is sure to follow, would end up saving society a lot of money any way? Portraying heroin addicts as sick losers rather than rebellious outlaws works so much better than any DARE program.

Posted by: thehim on January 12, 2007 11:53 AM
71. Giffy:

I volunteer at Union Gospel. The help is available to all, but there is a strong message of the healing power of the Word which goes along with the food and other services. Volunteers often begin the service delivery with a prayer. The program asks individuals to be responsible for current and past acts. Many of those who are not familiar with Christianity don't get that Jesus was a tough love kind of guy. You are loved and helped, but you have to accept responsibility to change. Many of those helped by the Union Gospel, Salvation Army, and St Vincent de Paul will tell you that they came in for the food and got saved by the message.

Posted by: WVH on January 12, 2007 12:46 PM
72. Giffy:

Try the this home page link:

http://www.eurad.net/

Click on the research tab.

Posted by: WVH on January 12, 2007 12:52 PM
73. thehim:

Drugs, the brain and reproductive function
Heroin distribution in Switzerland
International criticism of the Swiss heroin trials
Ecstasy and chemical warfare by Dr Gabriel Nahas
Medical marijuana scam by Grainne Kenny
Ouders een natuurlijke hindernis tegen drugs? by Renée Besseling
Scientific findings prove harms of "SOFT" drugs
Finland statistics
The value of "random student drug testing"
One in four at risk of Cannabis Psychosis. by Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt
CANNABIS - A cause for concern? by Mary Brett BSc (Hons) (UK)
2006 Click on a topic below

http://www.eurad.net/

There is criticism of the heroin drug trials, see above.

Probably, you and others will not agree that society has the right to draw lines regarding behaviors. Where society chooses to draw some lines will probably upset some.

Posted by: WVH on January 12, 2007 01:05 PM
74. Has anyone here seen the last season of The Wire? I'm not referring to the season that just finished up, which was set primarily in a high school, but the season that ran a few years ago?

The series is about the Baltimore Police Dept and its efforts to fight drugs and related crimes. At one point in the story, the officer running the program makes an executive decision out of desperation: he designates an 8-block area as a "legalized drug zone". The police would stay on the margins to intervene if anything got violent, but as long as the crack heads and heroin addicts stayed in this area, they could do what they want.

Now this is only "fiction", but the writers of the show have worked for years in the Baltimore area - I think one writer was a police officer in the past. It makes me wonder if this is an idea that has been bandied about?

In the story, this move resulted in a dramatic drop in crime outside of the designated area. Further, professionals in the social services found it advantageous for thier outreach efforts in that all the druggies were conveniently in one place!

It is only fiction, but food for thought. Think of it...you find out your teenager has tried heroin. You haul his little butt down to the "druggie zone" - leave him there for a while so he can feast his eyes on the real results of long term opiate or crack use...kind of like the old "scared straight" concept.

Posted by: ALP on January 12, 2007 01:29 PM
75. The Bible also says that God helps those who help themselves, and that your body is a temple, not to be abused.

Posted by: katomar on January 12, 2007 02:30 PM
76. Sorry, the above comment was directed to Giffy.

Posted by: katomar on January 12, 2007 02:31 PM
77. "I volunteer at Union Gospel. The help is available to all, but there is a strong message of the healing power of the Word which goes along with the food and other services. Volunteers often begin the service delivery with a prayer. The program asks individuals to be responsible for current and past acts. Many of those who are not familiar with Christianity don't get that Jesus was a tough love kind of guy. You are loved and helped, but you have to accept responsibility to change. Many of those helped by the Union Gospel, Salvation Army, and St Vincent de Paul will tell you that they came in for the food and got saved by the message."

Thats pretty much were I am coming from, provide help to all, both physical and spiritual. Not really into the Christian stuff personally, but do support the efforts of Christian to help others. I think it is amazing when a person is rescued from suffering whether it is through religion or something else.

I also agree with both you and Katomar that Christianity does have a personal responsibility element. again my point is not the Jesus was pro-drugs or anything like that. I was merely repsonding to the question about whether emergency rooms should treat those that come in suffering from drug overdoses even if they cannot pay. I think just like UGM gives food to the all homeless, hospitals should treat everyone. Now just as UGM tries to help people get their lives together, I think hospitals should try to get drug addicts help too. But to say that they should not be treated is immoral and frankly goes against the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Posted by: Giffy on January 12, 2007 04:54 PM
78. Giffy:

I was merely posing a question. By and large secular progressives and libertarians mock Christians and Christianity. In a Streetcar Called Desire Blanche Dubois relied on the kindness of strangers. How interesting that those mocking Christians now propose that the kindness of Christians saves their butts from their voluntary decisions. Of course, you are right that Christianity deals with the Good Samaritan philospohy, but how strange that those not identified with Christianity are quick to use its principles to make a point. Hopefully, they will get the geniune article when in need and not some C & E Christian or one that shows up at church to make social or business connections.

Posted by: WVH on January 12, 2007 06:22 PM
79. The phenomenon spills over to affect the electorate and the people who they elect. No wonder this state has run rampant with liberalism.

The mental hospitals should not have been shut down, but since tney were, we are reaping what was sowed.

Posted by: KS on January 12, 2007 06:50 PM
80. This post is meant as a joke, right?

If not, it should be.

Posted by: David Sucher on January 15, 2007 01:49 PM
81. This post is meant as a joke, right?

If not, it should be.

Posted by: David Sucher on January 15, 2007 01:56 PM
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