Marijuana Fear-Mongering and Misinformation
Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 02:10 PM EDT
A friend recently directed me toward the website of The Foundation for a Drug-Free World, a Los Angeles-based non-profit whose tagline is â€œan effective drug education and drug prevention program.â€ I was shocked and dismayed to see the â€œdrug factsâ€ section (they seem to have a monopoly on â€œthe truthâ€ about drugs), which reads like an amateur 1950s terror campaign.
Marijuana, inexplicably listed under the headline â€œjoints,â€ apparently will cause you to have a heart attack, and eventually will lead to psychosis.
For MDMA, the complete list of short-term effects is as follows:
â€¢ false sense of affection
â€¢ sleep problems
â€¢ severe anxiety
â€¢ drug craving
â€¢ muscle tension
â€¢ involuntary teeth clenching
â€¢ blurred vision
â€¢ faintness and chills or sweating.
Someone clearly misnamed that drug ecstasy!
Arenâ€™t we past this fear-mongering and misinformation? Even the federal governmentâ€™s National Institute on Drug Abuse acknowledges that â€œstudies testing the effectiveness of information dissemination or fear-arousal approaches have consistently shown that they do not work.â€
To actually reduce our drug abuse and addiction problems (and they are severe ), we need better. And we should expect better, even from an organization founded by the Church of Scientology.
 According to the NIDA, in 2006, 23 million people, or nearly 10% of the American population over age 12, needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem. Nevertheless, of those 23 million, only 10.8% received treatment, leaving some 21 million without.
This article originally appeared on Drugs, Law and Conflict.