Pubdate: Mon, 08 Dec 2003
Source: Medicine Hat News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2003 Alberta Newspaper Group, Inc.
Author: Devin Olmstead


Education is the single most effective deterrent to avoiding the
hazards of drug abuse.

Telling the youth of our community the truth ensures they make
well-informed, educated choices and it also ensures they listen
because they know they are not being deceived by scare tactics. Const.
Dellrae Sharpe (Crime Prevention Medicine Hat News, Nov. 13) points
out alcohol and tobacco are exponentially more hazardous than any
street drug. This is with out a doubt a fact. Tobacco kills 500,000
Americans each year.

The second most prolific killer is food. Obesity kills approximately
300,000 Americans each year.

Alcohol is in third place killing approximately 100,000 Americans each

Way down the list is street drugs. All tolled all street drugs
together kill about 20,000 Americans each year.

While I applaud Const. Sharpe, she is mistaken in a few statements she
calls facts and misleads with a few other facts. First THC is not
addictive. Second despite containing a higher percentage of
carcinogens than tobacco and containing more tar there has never been
a recorded death caused by marijuana alone. Third most marijuana
contains 10 to 15 per cent THC not 30 to 40.

It is also important to point out the drug war is to blame for almost
all preventable deaths related to street drugs. There are generally
four reasons people die from drug use. These reasons are poisoning,
overdose, disease and murder. Poisoning and overdose are purely the
result of drugs being manufactured and sold by unregulated and unsafe
sources. Disease is spread because of stigma and a lack of clean
needles. Murders result from the unnecessarily inflated value of
street drugs. People are killing because of money not drugs.

Legalization and regulation are the best approaches to protecting
ourselves and our children and that is a fact that should be taught to
the next generation.

Devin Olmstead
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