“I work in a residential facility for male addicts. The kids interested in recovery view marijuana legalization as a slippery slope.”

This comment-of-the-day is by Tom B. on the post “Are You in the Marijuana Majority“?

As some of you know, I work at residential facility for male addicts. I work on the adolescent unit with 38 adolescent boys. Kids that were truly interested in recovery and wanting to change were clear that they thought it was wrong. The same kids, many of which started using marijuana with the belief that 1.) they could stop at any time and 2.) moved on to other drugs such as cocaine and pills, said it was wrong to legalize. They viewed the legalization as a slippery slope.

On the other hand, kids that are simply in treatment to avoid jail time (courts placed them in tx in hopes that it will put them on the road to a better life), said that when they’re old enough, they plan on moving to a state where it’s legal to smoke marijuana.

Let’s be honest here, the legalization is based on one reason and one reason alone and that’s $$$. Taxes. As long as the states get their “cut,” they give a rats ass how it affects people. The people who are for the legal use of the drug have illegally used the drugs for years. Have to wonder why anyone would use an illegal drug in the first place.

Then there is the age old “ … but alcohol is legal” … yeah, so what’s your point? Then there is the idea that a lot of crime is connected to the illegal sales of the drug and that crime will go down. Whereas the dealer now gets a few dollars for an amount of marijuana, the state will now tax legal marijuana to the point that the user will continue to go to the dealer and buy.

It’s funny how places like GMP work hard on eliminating the stereotyping of people yet when it comes to marijuana users, the stereotype is a simple a well adjusted functioning person who simply wants to chill out.

If I understand correctly, these states will be setting aside funds to accommodate addictions and treatment. Managed care will limit that process especially when the funds don’t really pay for the cost of the care needed. Play the DVD all the way through … the end of the story isn’t pretty.

photo: Editor B / flickr


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  1. Of course, a drug rehab counselor can’t see why anyone would use an illegal drug! But there are plenty of reasons that people want to use them, and want them legal. It isn’t all about the state deciding to make money on a line of commerce by dragging it out of the black market. It’s also about people wanting to take a drug, whether it’s for recreation, performance, medicine, or religious use.

    • “Of course, a drug rehab counselor can’t see why anyone would use an illegal drug! But there are plenty of reasons that people want to use them, and want them legal.” That is an absurd statement. What do you think counselors do, sit around and just talk about the ill affects drugs have on kids?

      Truth is that anyone who knows the consequences of using illegal drugs and still does it has something happening in their lives far beyond the “I like how it feels.”

      Obviously the 14 year old I have on the unit, who has a girlfriend that’s 8 months pregnant, has more going on in his life other then wanting to use drugs because he likes how it feels.

      Because I’ve always worked with adolescents, I have a different spin on all of this. Part of their treatment is to learn how to be kids without use of drugs. How to enjoy life without the use of drugs. At the same time addressing why they started using in the first place. Some was no more then peer pressure but more often then not, these kids are stressed and unable to deal with their lives. Now that it’s legal in some states, why should they bother learning to deal with the stresses, the so called “triggers” when we’ve made it perfectly acceptable to get high. Ignore the fact that the stressors are still there, they haven’t gone away and we’ve not taught them how to deal with them.

      Who are these people in jail for these drug offenses? Most of them are men. So what are we doing as a society to address the issues behind these men and their drug use. Good for us, we’re not going to arrest them and put them behind bars … now what? We still have a monumental problem with men using drugs and aren’t looking at the reasons behind their use.

      Recreational use … sounds fine if people simply occasionally smoked a joint as one would have glass of wine. But until now it’s not been a social norm, it’s not been commonly viewed as a simple social activity. It’s been illegal and accordingly, people have been willing (because they were aware of the potential legal ramification) to jeopardize their lives to use the drug.

      When I started in this industry, adolescents that I dealt with were high school age. I now deal with school districts where grade school kids are using. Now that we’re legalizing it, I ask what are we going to do with the addicts. Most of the guys we get through the courts are not in our program because of simple marijuana use … the problems go far beyond that. So any suggestions? Any suggestions as to how these programs are going to be funded?

  2. I love the slippery slope argument, because it’s been disproved multiple times by research. Sure, I’ll grant that it makes a kind of logical sense, but it’s not supported by evidence so really it should stop being used.

    • But as mentioned in a recent Yale study, there are red flags. So I guess when it becomes a crisis, then people will pay attention. What I’ve experienced is that suburban middle class and upper middle class kids tend to move into the so called harder drugs more often. Wonder why marijuana wasn’t good enough for the kids that are now using bath salts?

  3. If you think you are addicted to weed then you have much much deeper issues to work through.

  4. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    I worked in this field too, and the people forced into treatment by the courts generally did better than the voluntary admissions. It’s counterintuitive, I know. But they seemed to have a higher level of consciousness, possibly because they had less “self-will.” Maybe the THC doses in marijuana need to be regulated when it becomes legal. “Killer weed” is probably pretty heavy. But it’s one of the only drugs I know where the person becomes nicer after using it.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Problem with illegal drugs is that the premium $$$ involved in the illegality is so huge that it corrupts entire countries. Police forces. Cities. Funds the vilest people in the world. Murders by the thousands.
    If weed were as expensive as tobacco, ditto, say, heroin because it was legal, then the illegality premium would disappear, along with the massive distortion of various portions of our society.
    The late John Campbell, long time editor of Analog, Science Fact and Fiction, had a monthly editorial in which he proposed provocative ideas. One had to do with drugs. In the old days, he said, kids paid attention to their elders. “Don’t try to pet the sabretooth”. If a kid ignored his elders, his insouciance died with him and was not passed on to his posterity.
    Today, with our efforts to round off the sharp edges of our environment, kids don’t have to pay attention to their elders–and by extension the lessons of history, see the last presidential election–and so we have a problem. Kids can screw up, survive, and reproduce.

    Drugs, said Campbell, will redress this. Tell a kid not to get involved in drugs. Those who listen reproduce, those who don’t…don’t. Campbell thought this was a great idea. Those who die of overdoses today will still die of overdoses if it’s legal.
    Since drug dogs are going through jr. hi. schools, the increase in availability isn’t likely to be decisive.

    It would be interesting to ask the young men in the rehab center what they thought when the oldsters told them, don’t even start. “eff you, old guy”. Well, maybe that has a consequence. In fact, it certainly does. And it’s not the old guy’s fault, nor the fault of the people who point it out. You didn’t listen. Whose fault is that?

    • @Richard “It would be interesting to ask the young men in the rehab center what they thought when the oldsters told them, don’t even start. “eff you, old guy”. Well, maybe that has a consequence. In fact, it certainly does. And it’s not the old guy’s fault, nor the fault of the people who point it out. You didn’t listen. Whose fault is that?”

      Taking responsibility is part of their recovery. Although it’s not been 100%, parents, elders have advised these kids not to use. These guys have made the choices and accordingly have to take accountability.

      The attitude about their drug use and not listening to elders isn’t exclusive to just using drugs, there is an overall lack of respect for elders in general. I love my family but I know better kind of attitude. Let’s face it, in this string of responses alone, parents and their views are being countered. For every parent that urges their child not to use, we have 10 people, many with some authority, saying that the parent is wrong. I’ve yet met a parent who’s seen positive results of their kids using marijuana, yet in this string we’ve seen people argue the point.

      Sobriety in treatment, we do find especially during the holidays, many of these kids realizing what they are giving up. Some have said that this was the first Christmas that they weren’t high and enjoyed it.

  6. This is not an impressive comment. Make your argument for why marijuana prohibition is less harmful than the status quo, rather than demonize those who disagree.

    This, in particular, is absurd:
    Let’s be honest here, the legalization is based on one reason and one reason alone and that’s $$$. Taxes. As long as the states get their “cut,” they give a rats ass how it affects people.

    Those who make up “the state”–Democratic and Republican politicians–virtually all oppose this. It was done by initiative because no legislature would touch it. I can’t speak for 55% of my fellow Washingtonians, but I myself voted for legalization because I work in the court system, and I’ve seen thousands of lives severely damaged by utterly pointless prosecutions, almost all of non-violent offenders. I have no other tool to stop the state from doing this, so I used the tool I’ve got. I’m in no danger here, and I won’t personally benefit (I have no interest in using marijuana, and haven’t touched the stuff in 20 years). I’m just sick of seeing lives ruined by the criminal justice system for no good reason.

  7. “Scientists long ago abandoned the idea that marijuana causes users to try other drugs: as far back as 1999, in a report commissioned by Congress to look at the possible dangers of medical marijuana, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences”

    It is now 2013. In 1999, the majority if the kids on my unit were high school age. In 1999 they smoked a “joint” where as they now smoke “blunts.”

    Use of marijuana in adolescents is far more complex then use that started as adults. Adolescent brains are developing and accordingly, their using as adolescents, if not curbed, can affect them as adults.

    Every single kid that I’ve worked with who moved beyond marijuana use stated that he “thought” he would never use anything else and that he “thought” he could stop any time he wanted.

    • It worries me that someone in your field has been wrong on two counts. Recent studies have disproved that teenage marijuana usage affects brain growth, and there have also been findings that would seem to prove exactly the opposite.

      As I stated before, the slippery slope argument is an attractive one because it makes logical sense, but sometimes the world behaves in illogical ways and we all have to change our views to meet the facts.

      • @Jake ….Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory persists after the acute effects of the drug wear off; when marijuana use begins in adolescence, the effects may persist for many years. Research from different areas is converging on the fact that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains.

        A recent study of marijuana users who began using in adolescence revealed a profound deficit in connections between brain areas responsible for learning and memory. And a large prospective study (following individuals across time) showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost as much as 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38; importantly, the lost cognitive abilities were not restored in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults. (Individuals who started smoking marijuana in adulthood did not show significant IQ declines.)

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