Pubdate: Wed, 26 Mar 2003
Source: Charleston Gazette (WV)
Copyright: 2003 Charleston Gazette
Author: Gregory J. Campbell
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Youth)
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)
Bookmark: (Partnership for a Drug Free America)



The full-page ads being distributed by the White House's anti-drug office 
are a striking example of government waste.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has a $150 million 
advertising budget for this fiscal year - more than all other federal 
agencies' ad budgets combined - that it spends on ads that even they admit 
don't work.

For instance, the ads claim that more teen-agers seek treatment for 
marijuana than for all other drugs combined. This statement, while true, is 
disingenuous at best: According to U.S. government statistics, most teens 
in treatment for "marijuana abuse" are not in treatment because they were 
found to be addicted, but because they were arrested and given a choice of 
treatment or jail.

All of the recent growth in teen marijuana treatment admissions has been 
driven by the criminal justice system.

What the ads ignore is the fact that marijuana prohibition - not the drug 
itself - poses the greatest risk to teens (and adults). Under prohibition, 
even "youthful indiscretions" with marijuana can lead to loss of student 
financial aid, exclusion from participation in extracurricular activities, 
termination of employment, and, of course, incarceration and a criminal record.

Gregory J. Campbell, Charleston
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