Pubdate: Sun, 12 Apr 2009
Source: Palm Beach Post, The (FL)
Copyright: 2009 The Palm Beach Post
Author: Philip V. Bulone


Working daily in the Palm Beach County Regional Detention Center puts
me in contact with many juveniles. As a substance-abuse
interventionist, I talk with many of these kids. I usually ask two
questions during preliminary screening: 1) Do you use drugs? The
answer in most cases is no; 2) Do you smoke weed? More than
80''percent of the kids answer yes.

Most of the kids I see don't smoke joints anymore. The new way of
ingesting marijuana is by smoking a "blunt." Many times, the amount of
marijuana in a single blunt can be the equivalent of three to five
joints. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana,
is one of the oldest hallucinogenic drugs and addicts more than
150,000 individuals annually. As a former cop, I can tell you that
marijuana does not always lead to the use of other drugs. It is my
experience, however, that most users of marijuana experimented or
continued to use marijuana along with their new drug of choice.

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, "Higher potency
marijuana is now being produced from cannabis cultivated in large
outdoor grow sites in California by Mexican and Asian criminal groups,
with the average potency of tested samples showing an increase of 52.4
percent, within the past five years." Since 2001, more high-potency
marijuana is coming from Mexico and Canada.

Use of marijuana during this time of growth can have a negative impact
on teens' learning, critical thinking and decision-making,
relationship skills and overall maturity. Use of marijuana can make a
teen more likely to be involved in automobile accidents and casual,
unprotected sex. I support decriminalization of marijuana, not
legalization. I believe those arrested for possession of marijuana
should be referred for substance abuse education or, if need be, treatment.

Philip V. Bulone

Boynton Beach
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin