Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mispent Money

From today's Star Tribune letters to the editor:

Reduce poverty, and drug use will decline

A Jan. 3 commentary was headlined Marijuana use dulls the mind and argued that marijuana is a gateway drug as well. Both of those statements are also true for alcohol, especially in regard to young users, and alcohol is a legal drug for adults.

I’m neither in favor of nor opposed to marijuana legalization. I do know this, though: If we had spent as much money and time and energy on eliminating poverty and making education better as we have on trying to stop the use of marijuana (including what we’ve spent on drug agencies, prisons and housing prisoners, and on drug enforcement agencies) we would’ve greatly reduced the pockets of poverty in our country. Not only that, but in doing so we would most probably have done a better job of reducing drug use and or crime.

It should be obvious that poverty and lack of education do more to foster drug use than prisons do to stop it. It’s way past time to stop the war on drugs and start a movement to reduce poverty and do much to foster a good education for all of our children.

Don Anderson, Minneapolis
Well said, Don!

By the way, the January 3 commentary that Anderson refers to mentioned research that showed people who went to school in the late 1970s and early 1980s (me and others my age) had the lowest SAT scores of all time. The writer posited that the low scores may have been because my cohort had the highest rate of marijuana use.

I've written before with some alternative explanations for those low scores (and disputed that they even were the lowest).

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