Thursday, September 10, 2009

Which is a more dangerous drug; alcohol or marijuana?

"The plain and simple truth is that alcohol fuels violent behavior and marijuana does not. Alcohol contributes to literally millions of acts of violence in the United States each year. It is a major contributing factor to crimes like domestic violence, sexual assault, and homicide. Marijuana use, on the other hand, is absent in that regard from both crime reports and the scientific literature. There is simply no causal link to be found."

Norm Stampler, former Chief of Police, Seattle, WA.

As a public health and criminal justice observation, we would be far better off as a society legalizing marijuana and criminalizing alcohol not that I am recommending the criminalization of alcohol again (we did that during prohibition), nor am I recommending the legalization of pot. I am simply pointing out the irrationality of our drug policies in the United States. Marijuana is a much safer drug and has far fewer negative social consequences than alcohol.

These irrational policies have huge consequences for our criminal justice system and our health care system which we, as tax payers, pay for in implementing ineffective policies, and programs and services.

The old saying in the substance abuse field is "A Drug is a drug is a drug" but this is ignorant and not at all true and drugs operate in different ways on the human body and have different meanings in our society. Much more effective social policies and treatment services could be developed and provided if these social policies and treatment services were based on our current state of scientific knowledge and not based on ideologies and politics which have outlived their usefulness.

Here at GCASA we strive to provide up to date scientific information and to provide services based on our current state of knowledge.

1 comment:

John Bennett said...

good blog question?? Knowing what we know today...legalizing pot would make much more sense than alcohol. Back in the late 40's pot was thought to be associated with violent crime and was goning to be the downfall of the american youth. As you is not and never has been associated with violent crimes, rape, domestic violence...nor is there any evidence that the recreational user has any more adverse effects than the social drinker. I am trying to imagine the 1/2 time pot commercials during the superbowl. JB