Letters: The gateway theory

Marijuana prohibition controversy continues with letter writers

Re: Marijuana use and other drug use.

Steve Finlay, secretary treasurer of LEAP Canada is strongly in favour of removing prohibition from drugs that are not legalized.

As Scott Hilderlley has said he has visited the LEAP website and found they believe in the legalization of all drugs. I have done the same thing and find the same answers. I doubt by what Steve Finlay says as Drug Science .org clearly states that if marijuana use is a predictor of harmful behavior then it is argued  marijuana use is a threat to public health regardless of the effect on the individual. It appears that the biochemical changes induced by marijuana in the brain results in drug-seeking, drug-taking behaviour which most often will lead the user to experiment with other pleasurable substances. The risk of progression from marijuana to cocaine and heroin is well documented. Marijuana users are 66 times more likely to use cocaine subsequently than subjects who have never used marijuana.

The 1990 survey of “Pride” documents further the fact that marijuana is a gateway drug to more destructive dependency drugs. It has been reported that marijuana users progression to cocaine is 10 times greater than the risk of a heavy tobacco smoker to develop cancer of the lung. It is a fact that the major epidemic of cocaine consumption since the mid-80s was preceded by marijuana epidemic of the 1970s. The sequence of involvement into drugs progresses from the use of at least one legal drug cigarettes/alcohol to marijuana and from marijuana to other illicit drugs. Alcohol and cigarette use come first followed by marijuana use and then by the use of other illicit substances.

Teenagers are especially at risk to drug abuse if they begin with marijuana. Prevention by promoting healthy choices in the life of youth is a must and it is hopeful speakers will come forth that will teach youth how to stay away from health problems caused by the use of any illicit drug.

Prohibition should be here to stay.

Ted Dever

Sooke