Letter to the Editor: Prohibition Works

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Pamela McColl, Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia.  This letter, “Prohibition Works,” was first published in The Province, June 28, 2017.

In 1978, 10.7 per cent of U.S. high school students smoked cannabis every day. Survey data shows that marijuana use peaked in 1979 and was followed by a period of dramatic decline until 1992, when the rate of high school students who smoked pot daily dropped below two per cent.

Between 1979 and 1991, a huge prevention campaign in North America coincided with the dramatic decrease in drug use. Parents, teachers, police, youth leaders, social workers, churches and the children themselves all got involved. It worked. Users fell from 23 million to 14 million, cannabis and cocaine use halved and daily pot use dropped by 75 per cent.

Anyone who doesn’t believe that prohibition works either doesn’t know, or doesn’t remember, the rise and fall of drug use in the 1980s, and what it took to turn kids off the use of drugs.

Editor’s Note: Another success story was getting rid of Quaaludes, a scourge on American youth at the same time. By 1984, the DEA successfully stopped the worldwide production of Quaaludes.

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