Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2005
Source: Stoneham Sun (MA)
Contact:  2005 Stoneham Sun
Author: Keith Saunders


Officer Rotondi's Feb. 24 article is a very good example of why we need to
start talking differently about drugs. Parents who tell their kids not to
use marijuana still need to be vigilant in looking for indicators of use
shows: 1. Some kids will do things their parents don't want them to do, and
2. law enforcement has been unsuccessful in enforcing abstinence through
arresting people on marijuana charges.

Children should not use drugs recreationally; almost all parents agree. But
Officer Rotondi's approach, raising anxiety by making frightening
assertions, is a strategy that has failed for the 120 (not 20) years it has
been practiced. It will not reduce the use of marijuana, and may spur some
people to use drugs to treat their anxiety about illegal drugs.

The problem is, we want to reduce drug use, but we have never scared or
arrested our way to a reduction in use, much less abstinence. Marijuana use
was localized and subcultural at the turn of the 20th century, the very
same policies that were supposed to keep people from using marijuana,
helped lead to its popularity in the 1960s.

We've reduced tobacco use without prohibiting it and without feeling the
need to tell people, "Don't think it can't happen to you." We need to
better control marijuana, and there's no evidence that prohibition and
promoting anxiety are achieving this.

Keith Saunders

Bexley Road