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Exec. Secretary of Quaker Church for Europe Expresses Constructive Concern for drug abuse.

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Drugs and Risks

There are risks and side effects of any drug, and even some herbs. 

Marijuana is an "herbal drug" and is not totally risk free. ALL herbs, medicines, and drugs have some risks ; some very dangerous and quickly lethal such as overdoses of heroin, cocaine, or "speed" ; Some drugs are considered "safe" when used in moderate amounts, carefully.

Drugs can be classified according to risk. Some drugs used immoderately can be damaging over a long period, such as tobacco or alcohol. Some are less harmful like coffee, (caffeine), and marijuana ; some potentially psychologically (and possibly physically) damaging like LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, etc. (Most persons have no problem with psychedelics, but caution is recommended. Some serious mental problems, and suicides, have occurred when some people tried psychedelic drugs.)

NOTE: Many persons report "no problem" with particular drugs. Under medical supervision, and assuming there is a steady secure supply of substance, heroin, morphine, or cocaine addicts have little difficulty stopping their use over time. Under a sane recovery/maintenance program, the addict can easily transition back to normal life. Many addicts have successfully stopped using a drug suddenly rather than gradually.

Some drugs when used under medical supervision, according to some experts, are accepted as being safe, and by society. People seem to be able to learn to use these things moderately, and with little or no harm. Despite its illegality in England, the British medical journal, the Lancet, frankly urged full legality for both medical and non-medical marijuana use due to its widespread use, and due to its apparent safety ; especially when compared to the thousands of legally prescribed pharmaceuticals, some of which have extremely serious side-effects.

But, as with tobacco, governments and corporations should not block research which would help citizens and regulators both to come to final and rational conclusions on these issues. The corporate interests should not overshadow the health of the people.

Natural herbal methods should be given precedence, but some herbs can be dangerous too, and should be used according to proven medical practice. Tobacco is a plant, but is not harmless.

As damage claims begin to erupt from smokers world wide, governments and tobacco corporations will increasingly begin to suffer the consequences of tobacco's long term effects.

King James, who commisioned a later English translation of the bible in the 17th century, drew much attention and sensationalism to tobacco when he imposed the first tax on it, a 4000% tax which his subjects refused to pay ; smuggling in tobacco developed and the more reasonably priced "black market" tobacco which was being bought and sold with no tax imposed whatsoever, made it impossible for the King's tax to be successful.

The real damage was that tobacco, which was only used by a few people in well traveled areas prior to the sensationalism created by the King's attempt to ban it, suddenly became the most talked about "event" in the land, and everybody suddenly wanted to try it.

Eventually the King lowered the tax on tobacco, and the licensed tobacco, priced properly easily retook the market and there is no longer any sizable smuggling of tobacco.

Heroin is a form of morphine, an opiate narcotic which is in common legal use. Research has shown that moderate use of Heroin is as safe as morphine under medical supervision. But Heroin users overdose (and die) quite often on street drugs since the purity is unknown. No one but trained pharmacists, and trained doctors, shoujld administer dangerous drugs. The point is this : If Heroin were handled the same way as morphine (by prescription), there would be no more Heroin addicts or deaths than morphine addicts or deaths.

The smoke in marijuana contains carcinigins (though there are no documented cases of marijuana actually causing cancer). Most experts do not consider marijuana, when used moderately, to have much cancer risk.

Some studies recently have shown that marijuana can affect the developement of the growth of children. The effects were not long lasting, and such youth returned to normal when marijuana use stopped. But this study, assuming it is accurate, shows there is a danger during the formative years.

Whether or not different forms of marijuana consumption would yield different results, is unknown.

The psychological damage of unnecessarily stigmatizing young drug users should also be weighed in "waging a war" against their behavior, while totally accepting the "forced" use of Valium, Ritalin, etc.

Many children deeply resent being forced to take mind altering pharmaceuticals drugs, while being punished and severely psychologically abused for smoking a joint. I have personally known those whose forced use of Valium resulted in a life long fear and disrespect for psychiatry.

It should be noted that the studies which showed that marijuana caused brain damage, and reproductive damage, mostly from the early Carter/Reagan years, and which surfaced so opportunely for the Nancy Reagan "Just Say No" campaign, have almost universally been rejected by authorites world wide. The results have not been replicated by any other accepted studies that we know of.

A recent study also showed that teenagers smoking tobacco had smaller lungs than teenagers who did not.

Since the Canadian and U. S. Governments are not allowing any more medical studies to be conducted on marijuana (despite the desire of everyone to know the truth), everybody is left deprived as far as fully accurate, fully up to date, comprehensive scientific information is concerned. 

Tea Banned ? Keep Reading...

The criminalization of persons who use any medicine, herb, or drug is probably contradictory to the basic human rights provisions of most nations' constitutions and charters, as well as to the U. N. Treaties which protect patients' rights, and human rights.

If we examine the stories told by medical marijuana patients, we find that the idea that marijuana could be helpful was usually not given to them by doctors or other medical experts, but was discovered accidentally as they smoked marijuana for leisure time relaxation..

Most Medical Marijuana Properties Discovered Accidentally by Recreational Users (See medical page .)

Since established medical research, on its own, did not "discover" effective treatment for numerous diseases ; those who suffer from these maladies should not be further punished by those who are poorly educated, or ill informed of the relevant facts.

It remains to be seen if cruelty and bizarre deception will continue as the "narcs" try to save face in the light of new and impartial research on the medical properties of properly used marijuana.

It should be acknowledged that most alcohol users, medicine users, or drug users, even the moderate recreational user, is usually no threat to anyone. But the supply of truly dangerous drugs should be controlled, at least as well as alcohol is currently controlled.

History records that tobacco smokers were executed in some nations a few hundred years ago ; while alcohol, coffee and tea drinking have also been "singled out" and made a criminal act here and there in the past.

British ban tea in Egypt.

The British banned public tea drinking, and all hashish and opium, in Cario, Egypt around 1900. After they confiscated all the opium and hashish , the parlors turned to selling tea.

The patrons of the former opium and hashish "dens" returned to their usual tables and were served tea instead. This irritated the British police very much. The saw immediately that drinking tea for long hours at the little cafe's was no different that sitting there and smoking hashish, or drinking coffee (which was once illegal in the muslim world). At least that's how the "vice squad" felt.

So, they banned the public tea drinking.

Soon, even the white men in Cairo could not find a place for tea.

They relented, finally, after realizing the absurdity of it all, and tea returned to the ghetto of Cairo (but the British soon departed).

If you think that all kids would like marijuana if they tried it, this is not the case : about 88% of Dutch teenagers living in the city of Amsterdam have not tried it within the last year. And it doesn't get any worse than Holland according to the Americans , right ?

Interestingly, many are saying that there has been a slight rise in marijuana consumption lately in Holland. This has probably been caused by all the publicity recently generated in Europe as France tried to pressure Holland into changing their policy.

The official studies of the NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse, USA) show that teenage marijuana usage for high school seniors was at the 48% level in the U.S. in the last year or two. So much for the "war on drugs" , approach.

Those who advocate so called "harm reduction" style policies are actually attempting a more effective form of drug control other than "absolute prohibition". Harm reduction reduces the absolutist obsession, thereby allowing moderate use. This "safety valve" of moderate controlled drug use, reduces the underground drug culture and underground drug black market.

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