If you have kids, you most likely prayed hard that they would avoid drugs and alcohol. Once a child becomes intoxicated, childhood is over. The young person will never be the same again.
Thus, a sane society discourages substance abuse if only to protect children. A sane society does not put a happy face on inebriation.
We are not a sane society.
With almost 30 million Americans currently categorized as “substance abusers,” you would think that Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign, which launched in 1983, would be resurrected. But saying no is not what America in 2013 is all about. Saying yes to whatever you want to do is the rule of the day.
Washington state and Colorado have legalized the use of marijuana, and many Americans are celebrating. As Bob Dylan once sang: “Everybody must get stoned!” The usual excuses are put forth: It’s a freedom issue; we can tax the drug to generate revenue; it will get the criminal element out of it.
But the truth is that legalized pot (or drugs of any kind) creates massive unintended consequences.
• In Holland, so many problems arose from pot being sold in “coffee shops” that a law banning the sale of cannabis to “foreigners” was passed. It seems the streets of Amsterdam, in particular, have become saturated with stoned people doing things outside that should be done inside.
• The Netherlands recently passed a new law forbidding children from smoking pot in school. That’s right, some of the urchins were getting high between classes. One teacher told the media it’s hard to stop that when pot is being sold legally across the street where hard-core drug addicts buy it and then sell it to the kids to get heroin money.
• In Portugal, they have legalized all drugs. The result: Drug-related homicides have increased by 40 percent. Drug overdoses are up by 30 percent.
• In Switzerland, drug-related deaths doubled and the health care system was overwhelmed after heroin was made legal in Zurich. The law was rescinded.
But here in the USA, we are now bullish on pot. Willie Nelson wrote a book glorifying the drug. Snoop Dogg says he wants to teach his kids how to smoke reefer. And the media in general see marijuana as a harmless diversion. If you are down on pot, you are decidedly uncool.
Fine with me. I’ll risk the stigma. According to the federal government, 8,400 Americans begin using drugs every day, half of them under the age of 18. And 68 percent of folks who become addicted to drugs begin with marijuana. Get the picture?
Celebrate the pot culture if you want. But know that you are not helping kids by taking the high road.
• Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama.”