Today is the 4th of July, a day for our country to celebrate. Two hundred and forty years ago our forefathers signed a document declaring independence from Great Britain and thereby creating a country whose citizens would be endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The United States Constitution was adopted into law in 1787, and the Bill of Rights that included the first 10 amendments to the Constitution was ratified in 1791. The first of these amendments was the freedom of religion and speech.
As a nonprofit substance abuse prevention coalition, one of our roles in the community is to educate and provide awareness about various drugs of abuse. In addition to a bevy of educational programs we offer to the public, we create and air public service announcements. If we air a public service announcement about heroin, nobody complains. If we air a public service announcement about alcohol, nobody complains. If we air a public service announcement about marijuana, our staff members are bullied, called names, sent foul emails, and today, someone tried to hack our website.
Why are people who support marijuana worried about a prevention organization that’s trying to tell parents about the dangers of their children using marijuana? Shouldn’t parents be given this information? If marijuana is as benign as supporters would lead the public to believe, why do they try so hard to silence those of us working in prevention?
We also create and air public service announcements about prescription drug abuse, but Purdue Pharma and similar manufacturers don’t send us hate mail. Only marijuana supporters will do anything to silence those of us trying to help parents and others understand the harms of the drug. Our marijuana education is no different than the education we provide about other drugs. If it weren’t addictive, it wouldn’t be scheduled by the DEA, and it wouldn’t be the number one reason for youth entering drug abuse treatment.
To all of you marijuana supporters who want to bully us anonymously, let’s have a civilized conversation. Take the emotion out of your reason for using and promoting the drug, and let’s talk civilly. Since you won’t give us your real name when you send messages to our office, I get the feeling you don’t really want to talk about the issue. You just want us to stop. Too bad. We won’t be quiet about marijuana or any other addictive drug. It’s our job, and it’s something we do well.