True Compassion-Society

True Compassion About Marijuana: The Society

*Some studies and statistics in this section do not focus solely on marijuana.

 

Should drug use be a personal choice?

Drug use has a tremendous negative impact on society, and therefore it can never truly be a personal choice.

 

It’s not their choice - children

There is a large correlation between addiction and child abuse. In fact, the number one risk factor for a child being abused is addiction.  State child welfare records indicate that substance abuse is one of the top two problems exhibited by families in 81% of the reported cases. Source for both points above: Lung, C. T. and D. Daro. 1996. Current trends in child abuse reporting and fatalities: The results of the 1995 annual fifty state survey. Chicago, Illinois: National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse from Prevent Child Abuse America, Fact Sheet: The Relationship Between Parental Alcohol or Other Drug Problems and Child Maltreatment

 

75% of children in foster care are placed there because of a parent's substance abuse. Source: National Survey of Drug Use and Health

 

Specific harms to children related to the manufacture of drugs include: injury from explosion, fire, exposure to toxic chemicals, physical abuse, sexual abuse, medical neglect, lack of basic care including failure to provide meals, sanitary and safe living conditions or schooling.  Source: National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, Office of National Drug Control Policy http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/enforce/dr_endangered_child.html

 

In 90% of child sexual abuse cases, the offenders share characteristics including a history of abuse (either physical or sexual), alcohol or drug abuse and a lack of control over emotions. Source: “Sexual Abuse & Young Children”, Florida Center for Parent Involvement from Prevent Child Abuse America, Fact Sheet: Sexual Abuse of Children

 

Children of addicted parents are the highest risk group of children to become alcoholics and drug abusers due to both genetic and family environment factors. Sources: Pediatrics, 1999 Briere, J. 1996. A self-trauma model for treating adult survivors of severe child abuse. In The APSAC Handbook on Child Maltreatment (pp. 140-157) edited by J. Briere, L. Berliner, J.A. Bulkley, C. Jenny, and T. Reid. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

 

Marijuana and other drug use harms fetal growth during the mid-gestational period. Source: Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2005 Mar-Apr; 27(2):221-9. Epub 2004 Dec 8.

 

Children of mothers who smoke marijuana are more likely to start using the drug during adolescence.  Source: Effects of prenatal cigarette and marijuana exposure on drug use among offspring. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2005 Mar-Apr; 27(2):267-77. Epub 2005 Jan 8.

 

Is drug addiction a human rights issue?

Yes, human rights definitions are based upon the “inherent dignity of the human being” – dignity lost in the slavery of addiction. Source for definition: UN Human Rights Charter (1948)

 

Drugs are one of the primary contributing factors to prostitution (predominately amongst addicted women). Source: Center for Problem-Oriented Policing www.popcenter.org

 

Substance abuse is presently responsible for or associated with more than 80% of domestic abuse according to the Department of Justice. Source: United States Department of Justice

 

Drugs are one of the primary forces that perpetuate poverty and homelessness. Source: NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School Poll, “Poverty in America”

 

What is the relationship between crime and addiction?

Criminal acts are committed by addicts to attain their drugs of choice, not because the drug is illegal. Even legalizing marijuana would not take away its addictive power or the criminal organizations that profit by its sale. Source: “Don't Legalize Drugs (Some thoughts on Prohibition)” by Theodore Dalrymple. City Journal, Vol 7, No. 2, Spring 1997, Manhattan Institute

 

Sexual assault is frequently facilitated by substance use – some experts put the number at over 60%. Source: Slaughter L. Involvement of drugs in sexual assault. Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2000;45:425-430 (Analysis of 2003 urine drug tests of sexual assault victims demonstrated that Alcohol was present in 63% and marijuana was present in 30%. Gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB) and flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) were present in less than 3% of positive samples. In samples demonstrating only one substance, alcohol was found in 69% of cases and marijuana 18%. Among samples showing more than one substance, alcohol was present in 65% and marijuana 51%. Comment: “...alcohol, marijuana, and/ or other drug usage should be regarded as important risk factors in sexual assault.”)

 

When individuals are under the influence of drugs, judgment is impaired, and they are more likely to enter into risky behavior and criminal activity.

 

It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs however drugged driving has become more apparent in recent years.

 

Marijuana affects safe driving skills, such as alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time, as well as makes it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and signs on the road. Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Research Report Series - Marijuana Abuse”

 

Regular cannabis users were 9.5 times more likely to be involved in automobile accidents. Source: University of Auckland study published in Addiction

 

In a 2005 study of trauma center admissions, one in four drivers tested positive for marijuana. Source: Accident Analysis and Prevention

 

11 million Americans have driven under the influence of drugs. Source: 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Does drug use affect the environment?

Clandestine pot farms cause damages that take months to heal. As a result, anti-drug and enforcement agencies regularly deal with tons of trash, human waste, erosion and other forms of soil disturbance, loss of vegetation and chemical pollution that kills marine life.

 

Clandestine pot farms increase poaching of wildlife, raise the threat of wildfires started accidentally at campsites and put outdoor enthusiasts in harm's way.

 

The latest locations for marijuana farms are our national and state parks and they are generally run by major drug cartels. Three-fourths of the marijuana seized in California in 2003 was found on public lands.

 

Federal law enforcement seized hundreds of weapons from the armed guards at these clandestine pot farms.

 

Hikers, hunters and rangers have been chased away at gunpoint. A national forest officer was shot during a raid in California.

 

 Drug traffickers smuggle hundreds of pounds of agricultural supplies, herbicides, pesticides and supplies for the laborers hired to tend and guard the farms 24 hours a day.

 

The workers clear the land, set booby traps and put out rat poison to kill wildlife that would harm the crop. Sources for all above: Forest pot farms a menace to land, Mike Lee, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Oct-15, 2006 and http://dfaf.org/whatsright/envimpact.php

 

What are the financial costs associated with drug use?

Drug abuse is fast becoming the No. 1 health issue in the United States. It is superseding cancer and heart disease in costs and deaths.

 

Over 30,000 individuals die annually as a result of drug abuse and the cost is a roaring $100 billion annually. Source for both points: Dr. Glen Hanson, former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

 

Societal actions about drugs can affect personal behavior, even for legal substances. We have recently made decisions about secondhand tobacco smoke and driving under the influence that have affected personal choice, and we have seen the benefits of taking these stands against the larger harms that arise from an individual decision. Addiction, a completely preventable disease, and non-addictive drug abuse have far-reaching implications for all of us.