Pubdate: Sat, 02 Feb 2002
Source: Ledger, The (FL)
Copyright: 2002 The Ledger
Author: Gary Storck


Your editorial of Jan. 31 "An Arrest in Tallahassee," made some good points 
about the arrest of Gov. Jeb Bush's daughter Noelle, accused of forging a 
prescription for Xanax.

The existence of prescription drugs with a high abuse potential such as 
Xanax shows that even if all marijuana, coca and poppy plants were somehow 
wiped off the face of the Earth, there would still be plenty of other 
substances to abuse, whether they be prescription drugs or even common 
household products that can be inhaled.

Outside of marijuana, all of these substances can kill. Prescription drugs 
kill 100,000 Americans per year, even aspirin kills a few thousand. But 
marijuana has never recorded one death by overdose.

By making substances such as marijuana legal, society could divert people 
from using and abusing hard drugs such Xanax. Like tranquilizers such as 
Xanax or Valium, marijuana is used for relaxation, but it does not come 
with the abuse and addiction potential of these drugs.

If marijuana were legally available, perhaps Noelle Bush could have used it 
as a nontoxic, safe way to relax instead of apparently becoming addicted to 
Xanax and turning to prescription forgery. Not only that, but, if it were 
taxed and regulated, these funds could be used to fund drug treatment 
programs. Contrast this win-win situation with the current 
counterproductive fraud that makes marijuana the No. 1 priority of the war 
on drugs.

GARY STORCK, Madison, Wis.
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