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Notes for CHILDREN 

[1] Illegal drugs are more available to children than legal drugs. 

When the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse [CASA] (February 2001) asked teens what drug was "easiest to buy" 33% said MARIJUANA, 10% said BEER 

"More than one-third of teens polled by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse [CASA] said they could buy marijuana in just a few hours, 27 percent in an hour or less." 

- Associated Press, 08/20/02 

Government reports for over 20 years have said that almost 90% of teens describe marijuana as "easy to get," The percentage is about 50% for cocaine and 33% for heroin.

"About half of high-school seniors reported that cocaine was readily available to them in 1999, roughly the same figure as in 1991." ( A rise from 43% in 1983.) 

- National Review 7-9-01, Richard Lowry

"We have so spectacularly lost the war on drugs that we need a new approach." 

- Associate Professor Michael Carr-Gregg, Centre for Adolescent Health, First International Conference on Drugs and Young People, 1998 

[2] Illegal drugs are made more dangerous than normal through lack of regulation.

 The classic example is alcohol during Prohibition when tens of thousands were maimed or killed by bootleg whiskey; same drug, different circumstances. It is instructive that alcohol use rose steadily during most of Prohibition despite all of this, yet we think we can scare our young into not using drugs.

"The incentives to produce and consume more powerful alcohol during Prohibition are also inherent in our current drug laws. Low dosage drugs such as marijuana are bulkier and more easily detected than harder drugs, providing the incentives to increase the supply of more potent drugs." 

- "Rationalizing Drug Policy Under Federalism" by David W. Rasmussen (Professor of Economics, Florida State University) and Bruce L. Benson (Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at Florida State University. [Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 1978]) 

Clinics that have offered unlimited heroin to addicts for years, such as in Shreveport and Switzerland, have had zero overdose deaths. Thousands of families in the U.S. have lost someone to a totally unnecessary overdose. 

Two key factors in limiting possible harm from the massive experimentation we now have is to be sure the user can know the dosage and purity of the drug; knowledge of both of these is eliminated when a drug is prohibited. 

[3] Contempt for the law and authority 

"A final cost of the possession laws is the disrespect which the laws and their enforcement engender in the young. Our youth cannot understand why society chooses to criminalize behavior with so little visible ill-effect or adverse social impact, ... And the disrespect for the possession laws fosters a disrespect for all law and the system in general. ... On top of all this is the distinct impression among the youth that police may use the marihuana laws to arrest people they don't like for other reasons, whether it be their politics, their hair style or their ethnic background. Whether or not such selectivity actually exists, it is perceived to exist. " 

- National Commission On Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972 

[4a] Illegal drugs tempt the young into sales. Negative role models abound. 

"The cost of marketing may have fallen as retail selling was taken over by juveniles willing to work for low wages." 

-- White House [ONDCP] sponsored 2001 report from the National Research Council, Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don't Know Keeps Hurting Us 

"Suppliers have an incentive to substitute youth for adults in the distribution chain. The unintended consequences of the rising enforcement are that more juveniles have been lured into the drug trade." 

- "Rationalizing Drug Policy Under Federalism" by Rasmussen and Benson

"A policy of Prohibition insures that these substances will be sold in our schools, on our playgrounds and in our streets. I worked with teenagers in New York City for over a decade and doubt that there were any who could not get access to illicit substances. In fact, often the dealers themselves were underage. The very policy that is supposed to protect our children has had the effect of pushing the drug trade into their hands." 

- Adam J. Smith, DRCNet, Assistant Director, 12-18-96 

[4b] Illegal markets bring a climate of violence and the profits that fund gangs.

"Thousands of young Americans in all 50 states are joining gangs, according to a Justice Department study released yesterday." 

"High profits from the sale of street drugs such as crack cocaine, which became popular in the 1980s, are first among reasons that young people join gangs, the study said. It compared the phenomenon to the way the illegal liquor trade fueled gangland activity in New York and Chicago during Prohibition." 

- Inquirer (PA)30 May 2001 

[5]  "The illegality of possession and use creates difficulties in achieving an open, honest educational program, both in the schools and in the home." 

- National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972 

[6] Drug war rhetoric - and DARE - exaggerate and use scare tactics, breeding disrespect and undercutting honest drug education. 

"The Justice Department hired the Research Triangle Institute of Durham, N.C., to conduct a statistical analysis of all D.A.R.E. research. 

"A preliminary report from the RTI -- analyzing eight studies involving 9,500 children -- says D.A.R.E. has 'a limited to essentially non-existent effect' on drug use. 

"D.A.R.E. didn't do as well as other drug programs, including local classes taught by teachers and students. " 


We would not entrust the repair of our TV sets or toilets to a policemen with a manual, but DARE, our largest drug education program, takes police off the street, where they are professionals, and puts them in a classroom, where they are amateurs with no professional background in drugs, counseling or teaching. This isn't good for our children or for public safety. 

"Prevention strategies in schools should not be led by police services or delivered by police officers." 

- Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, Canada 2002. (DARE is prominent in Canada.) 

"Students need honest, science-based, comprehensive drug education. They should learn to "just say know" when it comes to any choice involving their health. In the end, teenagers will make their own decisions. Even the most vigilant parents can't keep their kids under surveillance at all times." 

- Dr. Marsha Rosenbaum ( coordinator of the Safety First Project www.safety1st.org ) LA Times 12-4-02 

[7] Prevention programs short changed 

Limited resources are going to ineffective law enforcement. 

[8] Parents are given bad information. Making marijuana illegal is the trigger for the "gateway" to more dangerous drug use. 

"Youth who just experiment with drugs are better adjusted than both abstainers and frequent users." 

- Rationalizing Drug Policy Under Federalism by David W. Rasmussen : Professor of Economics and Director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University. Bruce L. Benson: Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at Florida State University. (Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 1978)

 Misinformation fuels an obsession with illegal drugs that has diverted attention from the drug which is far and away the greatest risk to the young, ALCOHOL. 

"Alcohol and tobacco are the most widely used psychoactive substances throughout the world. Current levels and patterns of use of these substances engender harm to health and costs to society that greatly exceed the harm from the use of illicit substances. " 

- House of Commons Special Committee on Non-Medical Use of Drugs, Canada, 12/02 

"Gen. McCaffery also ignored another finding of the report. The Institute of Medicine said there's no scientific basis for the "stepping stone" theory -- that chemical properties of marijuana lead to use of other drugs. 

Instead, the IOM report talks about a "gateway theory," but characterizes this as "a social theory. The latter does not suggest that the pharmacological qualities of marijuana make it a risk factor forprogression to other drug use. Instead it is the legal status of marijuana that makes it a gateway drug." 

Thus, the Institute of Medicine suggests that what makes marijuana potentially dangerous in terms of leading to use of more dangerous drugs is the very fact that it is illegal." 

- The Orange County Register, editorial 7-23-99

Given that the government itself ordered the Institute of Medicine [IOM] report [Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base], it is little short of criminal that they have withheld discussion of this finding from concerned parents. Also, given that they have ignored such reports for over 50 years, it's not a surprise. Here the message of the drug war seems to be, "We will lie to you, even about things crucial to your children's well being, if it suits our political agenda." 

"If there is any 'gateway effect' that can be attributed to cannabis, it's the fact that buyers, especially young people, are exposed to these dealers who stand to gain far more from pushing much more highly addictive substances on their customers than they do from selling cannabis." 

-- Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, Canada, September 2002 

See: Gateway 

[9] Excessive use of punishment takes its toll on children in many ways. 

"Excessively severe drug laws have deprived thousands of children of their parents." 

-- Human Rights Watch report, "Collateral Casualties," June 19, 2002 

Over a million children have lost one or more parents to prison due to drug offenses. Studies show this is far worse for the children than alternative sentences and entails great future costs to society. Unfortunately, mandatory minimum sentences now often make that option impossible. 

If adults can go to prison for using a drug, it provides a reverse incentive to the young to experiment before they're adults. It also weakens parents' logical argument to their children that they should wait until they're adults to make a decision about drugs. 

If petty dealers get harsh punishment for sales to adults, it removes a disincentive to sell to the young. 

If the drug war were "all about the children" we would have harsh penalties for sale to children and only fines for small scale sales to willing adults, making the line clear rather than the current penalties that make it irrelevant to a dealer whether the customer is young or old. Fines could also produce revenue for youth programs. 

"The present system has not been effective in discouraging drug experimentation by the young in part because suppliers are subject to punishments whether they sell to adults or children." 

- Business Week, 9-17-01 

"It doesn't do anybody any good just to take a drug test and kick the kid out of school - where's he going to go? It doesn't solve anyone's problem and may in fact worsen it.'' 

- Kathleen Lyons, spokeswoman for the National Education Association 

The number of offenders under age 18 admitted to prison for drug offenses increased twelve fold between 1985 to 1997. This will have a lifetime effect out of all proportion to the harm done by the offense.

"Numerous studies show that the more and worse the consequences a kid experiences when found out for using drugs, the more likely they are to become drug dependent." 

- Dr. David Duncan, Brown University, School of Medicine, 2002 

Once a fanatical attitude is established, incredible things occur: 

"SOUTH HAVEN (AP) - February 21, 2004 

Assistant principal admits planting marijuana in student's locker 

"A west Michigan educator may face drug possession charges after police say he admitted to planting marijuana in a student's locker. 

"Pat Conroy has been placed on administrative leave as assistant principal at South Haven High School. Earlier this month, he told police he put the drugs in the locker last year because he suspected the student was a drug dealer, and wanted the boy expelled. 

"Conroy's plan failed because a drug-sniffing dog didn't find any marijuana during a school search." 

[10] Women and the Repeal of Prohibition 

Pauline Morton Sabin, the leader in the women's movement for repeal (The Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform, WONPR), was president of the Women's National Republican Club from 1921 to 1926 and originally a supporter of Prohibition; "I thought a world without liquor would be a beautiful world." Later, Sabin said that Prohibition must end because of "the shocking effect it has had upon the youth of the nation" with "children growing up with a total lack of respect for the Constitution and for the law." 

"In pre-prohibition days, mothers had little fear in regard to the saloon as far as their children were concerned. A saloon-keeper's license was revoked if he were caught selling liquor to minors. Today in [the illegal market] you can find boys and girls in their teens drinking liquor, ... mothers of the country feel something must be done to protect their children." 

-- Sabin's testimony to Congress, quoted in Repealing National Prohibition by David E. Kyvig 

"WONPR spokeswomen expressed particular distress at the effects of national prohibition on children and family life." 

- Kyvig 

"Prohibition has diverted the energies of the Salvation Army from the drunkard in the gutter to the boys and girls in their teens. The work of the Army has completely changed in the past five years since the drug era came into being, and Prohibition has so materially affected society that we have girls in our rescue homes who are 14 and 15 years old, while 10 years ago the youngest was in the early twenties." 

-Colonel William L. Barker, head of Northern Division, Salvation Army 

-St. Cloud, Minn., Daily Times, February 9, 1925



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