Anti-Drug Legalization Update

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Anti-Drug Legalization Update

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WHEREAS, marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in America. Of the nearly 20 million current illicit drug users, 14.6 million (about 75 percent) are using marijuana [Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health]; and

WHEREAS, of all youth age 12-17 in drug treatment in 2000, nearly 62 percent had a primary marijuana diagnosis (SAMHSA, 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health); and

WHEREAS, of the 7.1 million Americans abusing or dependent on illicit drugs, 4.3 million or approximately 60 percent are abusing or dependent on marijuana (SAMHSA, 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health); and

WHEREAS, emergency department drug episodes of marijuana in the United States increased 37.2 percent between 1999 and 2002, from 87,068 to 119,472 (SAMHSA, 2003 Drug Abuse Warning Network); and

WHEREAS, use of marijuana continues to pose a serious health risk to individuals around the world; and

WHEREAS, according to the SAMSHA Treatment Episode data Set, National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services, 1992-2001, marijuana was the second most common illicit drug responsible for treatment admissions in 2001 – outdistancing cocaine, the next most prevalent cause; and

WHEREAS, according to the 1999 report, Adolescent Self-Reported Behavior and Their Association with Marijuana, issued by SAMHSA, young people who use marijuana weekly are nearly four times more likely than nonusers to engage in violence; and

WHEREAS, according to the 2002 University of Mississippi report on the Marijuana Potency Monitoring Project marijuana is much more powerful today than it was 30 years ago, and so are the mind-altering effects. Average tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) rose from less than one percent in the mid-1970s to more than six percent in 2002; and

WHEREAS, the American Medical Association has rejected pleas to endorse marijuana as medicine, and instead has urged that marijuana remain a prohibited Schedule I drug; and

WHEREAS, medial marijuana, called Marinol, already exists. The active ingredient in Marinol is synthetic THC, which has been found to relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with various maladies; and

WHEREAS, there are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications that are smoked and it is neither rational nor compassionate to provide a harmful, addictive drug with no scientifically proven medial efficacy; and WHEREAS, inhaling smoke is generally a poor way to administer medicine in a safe, measured, and regulated dose; and

WHEREAS, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Research Report Series: Marijuana Abuse, October 2000, marijuana smoke contains 50 percent to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke; and

WHEREAS, nine states have enacted legislation that advocate the medical use of marijuana to heal a multitude of physical ailments; and WHEREAS, reckless campaigns to legalize marijuana misleads and confuses the public as to the true risks and dangers of illegal drug use and undermines efforts in the prevention of drug initiates among youth; and

WHEREAS, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) duly assembled at its 110th Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reaffirmed its opposition to any attempts to replace the established medical and scientific criteria for determining when an illegal drug has a bona fide medical purpose and, therefore, opposes these laws and initiatives as inconsistent with established scientific and medical protocols for establishing the medical value of dangerous drugs; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the IACP, duly assembled at its 111th Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California, strongly supports public awareness efforts by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drug Enforcement Administration, and FDA that dispel the myths that smoking marijuana is medicinal and harmless; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the IACP strongly encourages state and local law enforcement agencies and community groups to become involved in the anti-legalization debate to counter the legalization lobby groups and organizations.

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