US Marijuana Party

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Recent Drug War Commentary

The Drug War Toll Mounts by Radley Balko

States Should End the Drug War by Sheldon Richman

Drug War Distractions by Gene Healy

The Longest-Running War by Doug Bandow


  • Oh! You forgot to post the link to this commentary piece as well:

    Editorial: Student poll/They're making better choices
    December 27, 2004 ED1227A

    It is many parents' biggest fear: A precious teenage son or daughter will make one bad decision that will alter or end their lives. Drunken driving that causes injury or death. Peer-pressure-induced drug use that sparks addiction. Youthful sexual experimentation resulting in pregnancy or disease.

    Yet encouraging evidence that Minnesota youth are making better choices came recently in the results of the 2004 Minnesota Student Survey. That means the education/awareness efforts to help kids sidestep risky behavior are working; those campaigns should be maintained and expanded to reach even more young people.

    Overall, sixth-, ninth- and 12th-grade Minnesotans are smoking, drinking and doing drugs less than they did three years ago. Given every three years since 1989, the survey polled about 132,000 students last spring.

    The latest poll shows that the percentage of students who said they used alcohol one or more times in the past year has decreased in all grades. For 12th-graders, use dropped from 80.2 percent in 1992 to 62.7 percent in 2004; among ninth-graders, drinking slid from 63.7 percent in 1992 to 42.9 percent this year.

    Marijuana and methamphetamine use was down compared with three years ago. And the percentage of students who often or always wear a seat belt when riding in a car rose for all three grades.

    Minnesota's good news is consistent with trends recently reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the federal Department of Health and Human Services. According to NIDA, smoking rates among American teens continued an eight-year decline in 2004. Researchers attribute that positive trend to several factors, including the publicity around the tobacco company trials in the 1990s, antismoking youth-oriented ad campaigns like Target Market, and a sharp rise in cigarette pricing.

    Drug use, according to the HHS "Monitoring the Future" survey, dropped 17 percent among eighth-, 10th- and 12th-grade students from 2001 to 2004. That translates into 600,000 fewer teens using drugs. Teens report that smoking and taking drugs are losing their luster as being "cool." And more young people are choosing not to date or hang out with peers who make drugs the center of their social lives.

    Although the general trends are good, there are still some areas of concern. National surveys noted small increases in the use of painkillers, drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin, and inhalants. That suggests more attention should be directed toward combatting use of those particular drugs. On another front, playing cards for money increased among young people, consistent with the recent national poker craze. About a quarter of all high school boys say they play cards for money at least once a week, up from 13 percent in 2001.

    Here in Minnesota, reported sexual activity remained roughly the same. About half of high school seniors, and about a fifth of ninth-graders, said they have been sexually active, illustrating the case to provide good information about safe sex.

    And the percentage of state students who reported that they've attempted suicide rose a few percentage points, suggesting more public awareness about identifying and treating adolescent depression is in order.

    Many of life's most risky behaviors begin and take hold during the teenage years and eventually lead to lifelong physical and emotional problems. That young people are generally making better choices means they are more likely to grow into healthy, productive adults.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:28 AM  

  • Yes....and you conveniently left out the fact that while teens are passing up pot they are replacing it with gasoline, paint thinner and oxycontin. YEAH!!

    I'd personally rather my kid smoke a joint than snort gasoline or pop oxycontin.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:34 AM  

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