Pubdate: Sun, 2 Jan 2011
Source: New York Times (NY)
Page: ST2
Copyright: 2011 The New York Times Company
Author: Jerry Epstein


To the Editor:

Re "Salvia Takes a Starring Role" (Dec. 26, 2010): The article on
Salvia divinorum was right: "It's not an experience that everyone is
eager to repeat, or try."

In fact, it's rare, and laws are generally irrelevant to drug choices.
Drug experimentation peaks by age 21, especially after 17. Almost all
teenagers experiment with illegal substances, notably alcohol and marijuana.

Alcohol clearly is the normal sequential "gateway" and crucial in
almost all teenage and adult drug abuse and addiction. Heavy youthful
alcohol use and use of other drugs go hand in hand. Almost all light
drinkers show little interest in other drugs.

Minus accurate comparisons with alcohol and proper warning about age,
dosage and dangerous combinations of drugs, particularly with alcohol,
drug policy is doomed to be irrelevant and incoherent.

Jerry Epstein


The writer is the president of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake