The comments from Barbara Scuccimarra and (to some degree) Peter Bach regarding marijuana, reveal an ignorance of facts [The Paper, Jan. 31, 2014, Galef and Constituents Discuss Education, Fracking, and Marijuana]. Scuccimarra’s use of the phrase “gateway drug” is dated. There is no clinically researched or proven link between pot and other drug use. It is not addictive and you cannot overdose on it.
(Re Bach) CDC reports approximately 88,000 alcohol-related deaths a year, while CDC claims pot was implicated in a small, single-digit percentage of traffic-related incidents resulting in deaths.
As a Cold Spring resident and parent of a 23-year-old, I will tell you the biggest issue of drugs in Cold Spring and the surrounding area: Heroin. One of the reasons why: heroin costs a hell of a lot less than pot. And other forms of ingestion have eliminated the stigma of needles, as young people can now snort it or smoke it. So here is your cheapest drug in Putnam County. But it is never described as a “gateway drug,” because addicts can’t afford the other drugs, or they die before they would even have an opportunity to move on to something else.
The other big killer, that is not a target of the so-called ‘war on drugs,’ is prescription painkillers. From 1999-2010, Rx painkiller ODs rose 415 percent (CDC). That is four times higher than cocaine and heroin ODs combined.