Other views: If pot is legitimate drug, treat it like other drugs
I am responding to an article titled "Courts rule against Marijuana" and the statements attributed to Dr. Kaushik Sen (Forum, June 7). I will not take the time to debate the alleged medical benefits of marijuana. Let science follow its course and...
I am responding to an article titled "Courts rule against Marijuana" and the statements attributed to Dr. Kaushik Sen (Forum, June 7). I will not take the time to debate the alleged medical benefits of marijuana. Let science follow its course and investigate if the chemical compounds, such as Delta9THC, found in marijuana have a legitimate medical use (although I question "smoking" anything as a primary delivery method). Likewise, I will not debate the health and social impact of marijuana as compared to other "recreational" substances.
I have spent half my law enforcement career involved in drug enforcement activities. This included not only arresting drug traffickers and uses, but in conducting countless public education and prevention talks. Having spoken with numerous drug abusers, both young and old, suffice it to say I have a very different opinion as to the dangers and impact of the use and abuse of any "recreational" drug or substance.
I write rather in response to the rather cavalier attitude some in the medical field take towards the legalization of a drug without advocating the checks and balances placed on other medicines. Dr. Sen speaks of prescribing the drug Marinol, which contains Delta9THC. He makes the comparison of such a prescription as similar to the use of marijuana for medical reasons. In this statement, Dr. Sen sustains my argument.
Drugs such as Marinol must pass established FDA tests and endure rigorous study. If someone is to use marijuana as a legitimate medicine, shouldn't it be held to the same level of scrutiny as so many other drugs?
States such California only require a doctor "recommend" the use of marijuana for those in medical need. Yet whole other sets of drugs normally require a prescription. Oh, yes, we all understand why "powerful" drugs like Valium or Oxycontin require a prescription. They are ripe for abuse. But how about drugs like amoxicillin for your child's earache or triamcinolone for that rash on your hands? Yes, even these require a prescription to ensure the right amount is used and taken properly. If someone is to use marijuana as a legitimate medicine, shouldn't it be prescribed, just like so many other drugs?
Where do we get the medication we use everyday, be it the prescribed amoxicillin or the over the counter aspirin? We get it from a legitimate business, often a pharmacist, who obtained it from a manufacturer who produced in under controlled conditions. We know it is "X" milligrams, and we know it was manufactured under at least some set of standards established for our safety. The pharmacist ensures we are not taking other drugs that might conflict with its use and that we know how to take the drug properly.
Where do marijuana or any other type of illegal drug users get their drugs? Would you buy your child's amoxicillin from a guy on the street? Could you trust the pink liquid in a washed out pop bottle bought out of a back alley? If someone is to use marijuana as a legitimate medicine, shouldn't the drug be manufactured to a specific percentage of D9THC that matches the prescription just like any other drug?
Let us not kid ourselves. If a drug is to be used as a legitimate treatment, then let us treat it just as we do a thousand other medicines. The drug should pass established federal drug trials. A doctor should prescribe the drug. The prescription should include a set level of D9THC. The prescription should detail how and when the drug should be taken. A pharmacist should fill the prescription. A pharmaceutical company should have manufactured the drug under specific guidelines and only after proving its worth in valid tests and experimentation. To legalize the use of marijuana or any other drug, in any other fashion, is simply wrong. To support such legalization under the color of medicine, by those who are trained in the sciences to heal, is a travesty. Such a rationalization does not serve the sick patient or society.
Be not fooled by those who would use our pity for the sick to foster a greater ill upon society, namely another drug for "recreational" use under the guise of medicine.
Claus is a Fargo police sergeant. E-mail WOLFHNTR@aol.com