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Which is the true gateway drug?

Which is the true gateway drug?


Tue Sep 24, 2013

Editor: Ethanol (ethyl alcohol, drinking alcohol) is a psychoactive drug and the main psychoactive ingredient in alcoholic beverages. In countries with drinking culture, the lack of social stigma causes many people to not view it as a drug, because it is an important part of social events in their cultures. {{more}}As a result in these cultures, many young binge drinkers prefer to call themselves recreational drinkers instead of drug users or drug abusers.

We notice that nightclubs target undergraduate students (UWI, UTT etc) with promise of free drinks all night for them to patronize their business. Who condemns the business community for introducing young people to the gateway drug alcohol? We don’t hear any of the concerned people raising alarms about that. We notice how these legal drug pushers try to undo the damage their product causes in users (youths particularly) by urging them to drink responsibly — to not drug up on alcohol and drive. These facts don’t go unnoticed.

How easy is it the find the gateway that leads to marijuana access? It takes no effort to find the gateway to alcohol. It takes no effort to access sustained doses of that drug, which is infamous for altering peoples’ state of mind toward stupor and violence.

Interestingly, when national leaders and the “movers and shakers” of industry turn to chemical mind altering inducers, to do self harm, they turn by and large to alcohol. Alcohol use is implicated in much of the world’s violent crime. I cannot recall ever hearing of any reports in which marijuana use triggered violence. But let’s not dare speak of alcohol as a drug, moreover classify it as a psychoactive drug, least we expose and offend these drug users, many of whom publicly abuse this drug for all to see.

If marijuana intake increases risk of schizophrenia in the national population by as much as one per cent (13,000 persons) as opined by a locally practising psychiatrist on TV6, how is it that in the over 40 years of prosecution and imprisonment of persons for possession and use of marijuana the psychiatric board of T&T has not run any public announcements warning the public of this increased risk? Moreover, at a rate of 13,000 persons at increased risk for schizophrenia due to intake of marijuana and the fact that many thousands of locals do intake marijuana, there ought to be thousands of persons presenting with schizophrenia throughout the country. Where are they? Where is the live evidence?

People are concerned about how marijuana decriminalization or better, legalization, will affect the economies. Where was this group when one company, Trinidad and Tobago’s CLICO made $23.5 billion (over one-third of the 2013-2014 budget of $61.3Bn) vanish from the economy? Where were they when the State made taxpayers give CLICO $23.5 billion to compensate for the vanished money? How is it that this multi-billion dollar event, which happened in the space of four years did not adversely affect the economy?

B Joseph