Today, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released a new study that perfectly demolishes one of the central myths underlying the war on drugs. The National Survey on American Attitudes on Substance Abuse shows that youth access to marijuana has increased significantly in the past year:
According to the report, half of the 16- and 17-year-olds surveyed said their peers use marijuana more than tobacco. More teens say it’s easier to acquire marijuana than beer. And there’s a 35% increase from last year in the number of teens who say they can buy marijuana within an hour and a 14% increase in the number of teens who say they can find it in a day. [MPP]
It almost speaks for itself. Nothing could more directly obliterate the false notion that the war on marijuana is reducing youth access. Just days ago, the drug czar stood on a California mountaintop proudly pronouncing the importance of marijuana eradication. He's bent over backwards to explain that reductions in youth marijuana use provide proof that the war on marijuana is working.
What then can be said about marijuana's ever-increasing availability to young people? Rather obviously, recent declines in youth marijuana use owe nothing to the brutal and controversial tactics the drug czar is duty-bound to defend. After another year of dead dogs,dead informants and dead cops, marijuana is more available to our children than ever before. If fewer of them are using, then that is because they don't feel like it, not because they don't know where to get any.
Of course, the drug war supporters at CASA must have realized how badly their data reflects on marijuana prohibition, so they cooked up one the most embarrassingly backwards statistics possible:
Teens who can obtain marijuana readily are more likely to use it. Forty-five percent of teens who say they can get marijuana in an hour or less have used the drug, compared to 10 percent of those teens who say it would take them a day to get it and less than one percent of teens who say they would be unable to get it.
Oh, mercy. Is it really necessary to explain that teens who smoke marijuana are more likely to know where to buy it? This is just a crime against the scientific method, a pathetic face-saving ruse to defend marijuana prohibition within a report that unintentionally – yet transparently -- humiliates the drug war status quo.
Today, the drug war's failure to keep drugs out of the hands of our young people has been revealed in stark, unambiguous terms. No, the debate won't end here, but it is moments like this that cause one drug warrior after another, after another to jump ship and admit that the whole thing is just a monumental travesty