Jul
24

Harm-Reduction Approach

“Everything around us is changing… laws, society, personal idiosyncrasies, as well as the realm that cannabis resides. Sometimes it is time to sit down the bowl and really focus on the issues… well then pick it back up because politics are stressful…”

High Enough to Ride

Back in late 2010 we wrote an article on a young child who turned in their parents for smoking pot under the instruction of the D.A.R.E program. In that situation, the officers replied to the incident by saying “That’s what they’re told to do, to make us aware.” In some of the most recent scholarship by David J. Hanson, Ph.D., he notes that D.A.R.E has been used in up to 80% of the continental United States as well as within other countries to teach over 36 million children across the world “to just say no.” He declares D.A.R.E. to be a “counterproductive, program” that chews up over a billion dollars in US funds, even when such authorities as the U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education have discovered the program to be an ineffective abomination of the political-legal system against drug abuse. In fact, Tana Dineen, a local Houston columnist, found that the D.A.R.E program had raised drug usage by 29% during its occupation instead of lowering it, and this is the state of affairs across the whole continental United States.

Homer marijuana

Pot is inter tangled within this discussion, as D.A.R.E. propagates an agenda which designates any drug as harmful, hazardous, and life-ending, when in fact cannabis has been proven to be one of the safest substances a person can consume. For this reason among others, Ayelet Waldman, author of the book Bad Mother, has made it her responsibility to reveal the blemishes related to the D.A.R.E. program in order to derive a new approach to teaching children about drug use. On June 16th at Books Inc. in San Francisco California, she gave a speech on what she named the Harm-Reduction Approach. This idea proposes teaching kids about the world, a landscape littered with drug use, in a way that distinguishes between what is truly harmful and what is not on a physiological basis. For Waldman, this means drawing a difference between drugs such as weed and methamphetamine or heroin, substances that deteriorate the human body over time and frequency of use. I applaud Waldman for attempting to restructure the pedagogical framework of drug education among youth as their perspective has a profound influence on drug laws as well as the social construction of stigmas related to certain drugs. Below I have posted an excerpt from the aforementioned speech she gave, so take a look and see if it is something you support, I know I do.

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Nov
22

Cannabis use on Prenatal Development

“Laws are changing everything around us as well as the world that cannabis lives in. Sometimes it is time to sit down the bowl and really focus on the issues. Well then pick it back up, politics is stressful…”

I found this interesting study by Dr. Melanie Dreher et al. that tested the effects of cannabis smoking during pregnancy in Jamaica. If you would rather read the full study, you can download the pdf Here. Doctor Dreher and her associates compared children from smoking mothers and non-smoking mothers three days after birth and also followed up after one month. They found no differences between the two groups three days after birth; however, they found that after a month, children of cannabis smoking mothers showed better physiological stability. They also had “…better scores on autonomic stability, quality of alertness, irritability, and self-regulation and were judged to be more rewarding for caregivers.” For full details be sure to check out the video above, as Dr. Dreher outlines the longitudinal study and also compares her groups findings to others on the same topic.

My favorite quote from Dr. Dreher: (found around 28:36 in her lecture)

“It’s not an evolutionary accident that the two activities needed to sustain life and perpetuate the species are eating and sex, and that marijuana makes both of these things pleasurable.”

True that.

dr dreher

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