Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Friday, June 4, 2010

D.A.R.E. - To be Honest

I have no quarrel with a good argument. In fact, one of the few things I am sure of in this world is that there are two sides to EVERY story. However, I like to call bullshit when I see it – or in this case, read it. A few weeks ago, in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Dr. Neil Capretto, the medical director of Gateway Rehabilitation posited the opinion that legislating the use of medical marijuana is “foolhardy.” So says he.

His basis is that there are plenty of prescription meds on the market to deal with the health issues of sick people and that legalizing a largely untested and unregulated drug like pot can have dire consequences. Maybe.

However, I would like to know how many of the doctor’s patients enter his rehabilitation center severely addicted to the same medications he claims as being “safe” because they are FDA approved? Pain pills in this country are doled out like handbills on Election Day. My cousin died from being addicted to oxycontin, not because he may have smoked a joint once in a while.

Doctor Capretto does advocate the further testing of the drug and his point is well taken that it should be studied more to determine its possible benefits. The problem with this approach is that the government machinations in place move grindingly slow. This is further coupled by the fact that we are still living in the post-Reagan “Just Say No” era that grew out of the embrace of the sixties counter-culture’s use of pot. However, no other illegal drug has gained one bit of traction as a viable form of medication. Cocaine, acid; they all had their heyday. The reason stronger drugs have not held sway is actually pretty simple. People are pretty smart at sorting out what is good and bad. We already had a massive clinical trial for marijuana in this country for fifty years. Millions of people have smoked pot. While I am sure there are well documented cases of a small number of people having psychotic episodes or needing medical care, I would also bet the numbers pale in comparison to the dangers of alcohol. I can see legislators now denouncing pot over a few martinis, and then getting in their car. Can’t you?

I fully respect the doctor’s concern given his position. However, his clinic operates at least some degree because of pain pill addiction; drugs that were tested, vetted, studied and prescribed legally. This leads me to believe that the current system in place to get drugs to market does not provide a barrier to addiction. In fact, I would assume that most pain pill addiction starts due to the lawful prescription of these pills. The point is, to conclude as the doctor seems to; that the normal course of bringing drugs to market somehow protects the end user from abuse is disingenuous.

Let’s be even more frank…blunt actually. Have many of us have smoked a joint in their lives? I mean, how many of YOU? The anecdotal evidence I have seen, from friends not personal experience, is that side effects include raiding the pantry, not a lust for black tar heroin. I know, someone has a friend who smoked a joint and is now scoring crack from a prostitute. Well, the bars don’t open at 6:00 AM on Butler Street for an after work cocktail…but no one seems to give a shit about that. I’d ramble more, but its 4:20…

(Don't call me a pro-drug me a realist.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Dave! Especially The comparison between marijuana and alcohol really gets me hot.!