Local view: Legalizing pot will not solve synthetic drug problem
I disagreed with the Oct. 9 letter, "Legalizing marijuana could end synthetic drug problems." Marijuana is not as benign as the writer suggested. Marijuana may not cause lung cancer, but it has many adverse effects when smoked on a regular basis....
I disagreed with the Oct. 9 letter, "Legalizing marijuana could end synthetic drug problems."
Marijuana is not as benign as the writer suggested. Marijuana may not cause lung cancer, but it has many adverse effects when smoked on a regular basis. Marijuana has been known to cause increased heartbeat and lower blood pressure when smoked or eaten in a food. In some cases this has led to heart attacks. It also may cause problems with the immune system which may lead to infections in the lungs.
I agreed that when used for medicinal purposes, as in cancer patients and prescribed by a doctor, that it may be useful.
But suggesting that marijuana be legalized to put an end to the synthetic drug problem was ludicrous. In my opinion, all of these drugs should be illegal, not traded off for other drugs. Many of the synthetic drug users are purchasing these drugs because they are cheaper than illegal drugs on the street, they are easier to find and users believe they can't be detected. (They can test for these drugs; it's just very expensive.)
The synthetic drug use in the St. Louis County area has gotten way out of control. People are getting sick, being permanently disabled and even dying. I was told of a young schoolgirl who had used the synthetic drugs and her heart stopped. She survived but with permanent physical damage. She is 12.
There have been 4,137 calls to the poison control centers as of July 31, 2011, related to synthetic drugs. That compares 303 calls in all of 2010, according to Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Gary Boggs, who was quoted in a Twin Cities newspaper.
I also disagreed with the letter writer's statement that, "I find it strange the News Tribune gives so much coverage to the synthetic-drug phenomenon, providing free publicity ... to the shops that sell the poisonous products." It appears to me the News Tribune is reporting these facts to make the public aware of the dangers synthetic drugs present. I applaud the newspaper for doing that.
I challenge the public to not only be more aware of what is happening in the center of our city but to get out and make their voices heard on this issue. It is not something we can ignore and pretend isn't happening.
Janis A. Greene of Duluth is at the College of St. Scholastica in the social work program. She also has been in recovery for 12 years and has worked on a voluntary basis with others in recovery. She has family members and friends who have suffered as the result of using synthetic drugs, including one friend whose heart stopped.