To The Daily Sun,
Aren't New Hampshire's drug/addiction problems bad enough? How does decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana (MJ) reduce the number of addicts and associated costs? Decriminalization isn't the answer to reducing our addiction problem.
Lacking personal experience, I refer to President Obama's director of National Drug Control Policy's, Michael Botticelli, December 13, 2015 interview on 60 Minutes.
Botticelli, a recovering alcoholic, is "not a fan of legalization" of MJ. He says MJ is linked to lower academic performance and lower IQs, that it exacerbates mental health problems, and that one in nine MJ users become addicted to it.
Does New Hampshire want more mentally impaired citizens? New Hampshire's mental health system and rehab facilities are already inadequate. Law enforcement says most people in jail have addiction problems and addiction often leads to incarceration. Our Division of Children, Youth, and Services is already overwhelmed trying to find foster parents for children with addicted parents. Reports are that children as young as 12 year olds are abusing illegal substances. Decriminalizing MJ will likely exacerbate these problems.
I agree that people should be allowed to do anything they like that doesn't hurt someone else, meaning they alone are responsible for the consequences. But addicts typically hurt family, friends, employers, perhaps strangers, and taxpayers who pay for their care, for problems most addicts created for themselves.
After decades of propaganda MJ decriminalization is popular, but MJ isn't harmless. Unless users grow their own MJ, they don't know what's in it that may turn them into a monster like the one that drove his car into a crowd in Times Square killing and injuring people. Some users will have or cause accidents, others will become addicted.
Botticelli wants addicts to learn that there is hope, that there is a "huge, incredible life on the other side of addiction."
For a "high", people need to learn to do something constructive like helping someone, making a new friend, taking a walk, learning something, playing with your children or watching them perform, meditating/praying, or planning their future and working their plan.
There is hope and a huge, incredible life available to every American, but it can be delayed or destroyed by stupid mistakes like committing crimes, not getting an education or a skill and a good job, having children before marriage and having a good job, or taking drugs, alcohol, or MJ.
Botticelli's comment reveals the critical message missing from our family discussions, our schools, churches, media, and anti-drug and anti-addiction efforts. We take it for granted so we forget to point it out: Life is wonderful, you don't get a do-over, don't screw it up!
- Category: Letters
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