Marijuana Legalization Looms - Suncoast Rehab Center Says “Gateway Drug” Could Lead to Harder Narcotics, Burden Criminal Justice System

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As some states begin to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, Suncoast Rehab Center urges policymakers to reconsider, as marijuana is addictive and may lead to harder drug use.

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We still have not proven as a country that we can monitor the use of prescription drugs by ensuring that they are used only by the people who need them, so why would marijuana be any different?

Following the legalization of recreational marijuana use in both Colorado and Washington, advocates are now beginning to focus their efforts on Northeastern states, including Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire (1). But Spring Hill drug rehabilitation center Suncoast Rehab Center says that legalizing the drug is not only irresponsible, but also opens the door to drug abuse and addiction.

Past experience with even tightly regulated drugs, such as Oxycontin, shows that legalizing drugs widens availability and misuse, even when controls are in place - legalizing marijuana would increase use of the drug and, consequently, the harm it causes, likely adding to the already heavy burden on the criminal justice system (2). Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs have the following characteristics, per the United States Drug Enforcement Agency:

●The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse;
●The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.;
●There is a lack of accepted safety protocols for use of the drug or substance under medical supervision; and
●No prescriptions may be written for Schedule I substances, and they are not readily available for clinical use (3).

And according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the long-term effects of marijuana can lead to:

●Addiction;
●Poorer educational outcomes, poorer job performance and diminished life satisfaction;
●Respiratory problems (chronic cough, bronchitis);
●Risk of psychosis; and
●Cognitive impairment (4).

Suncoast Executive Director, Tammy Strickling, says that legalizing marijuana runs the risk of creating a situation of drug abuse for which the U.S. is unprepared—Strickling cites the prescription drug epidemic, for example:

“We still have not proven as a country that we can monitor the use of prescription drugs by ensuring that they are used only by the people who need them, so why would marijuana be any different?” said Strickling. “Legalizing marijuana sets a dangerous precedent and opens the door for another wave of drug use that we can’t control—and if that happens, it’s likely that we won’t be able to contain the potentially rampant drug use.”

As a drug treatment facility that treats clients from across the nation, Strickling says that a large percentage of Suncoast’s clients tried marijuana first before using other drugs, and an overwhelming majority list marijuana as being used currently with another drug of choice.

Strickling maintains that the key to stemming the rise of a potential epidemic is by limiting, rather than increasing, access to drugs such as marijuana. Furthermore, public education about the potential dangers of drug abuse is critical. For people currently struggling with addiction, treatment is the first step in helping them to reclaim their lives from substance abuse and return to being contributing members of society.

Suncoast enables its clients to take the first step in conquering addiction with long-term residential treatment programs, which include:

●Sauna detoxification that removes drug residues and toxins that cause cravings and relapse; and
●Life skills and cognitive therapy that get to the bottom of the addiction, discovering what caused the drug use in the first place.

Suncoast’s medical team designs treatment programs to physically address the malnutrition created by drug abuse, and the SRC counseling team tailors client therapy to help provide insight into the past—all intended to help addicts confront life better, and without reverting to drugs.

To learn more about the Suncoast Rehabilitation Center and its rehab programs, visit http://www.suncoastrehabcenter.com.

About Suncoast Rehab Center:

Located in Spring Hill, Florida, Suncoast Rehab Center provides long-term residential treatment, intensive sauna detoxification, life skills and cognitive therapy and counseling. Suncoast is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and was recently awarded a 100% inspection score for the third year in a row. Suncoast has a mission to educate youth and adults about drugs and the dangers of drugs, with the aim of preventing future drug use and abuse. Suncoast handles the physical deficiencies, weakness and problems created through drug use, without the use of additional drugs. Clients are helped to uncover the issues that led to their drug use through counseling, therapy and life skills that put the client back in control of his/her life and future. Suncoast’s purpose in drug rehabilitation is to heal the whole person and give the person tools and education to remain drug–free. For more information, visit http://www.suncoastrehabcenter.com.

1.Canfield, Clarke. “Pot Legalization Effort Moves Eastward to Maine.” News.yahoo.com. Yahoo!, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2013. news.yahoo.com/pot-legalization-effort-moves-eastward-maine-164758240.html.

2. "Marijuana Legalization." Whitehouse.gov. Office of National Drug Control Policy, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/marijuana-legalization.

3.“List of Schedule 1 Drugs.” Drugs.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013. drugs.com/article/csa-schedule-1.html.

4.Payne, Cathy, and Michelle Healy. “Marijuana’s Health Effects: Memory Problems, Addiction.” Usatoday.com. Gannett, 7 Dec. 2012. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/06/nih-marijuana-effects/1751011/.

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