All posts by David Sly

Pot’s Downside Clear in Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October Can Shed Light on the Role of Drugs Like Pot in Domestic Violence

Few people dispute that alcohol contributes to domestic violence. They probably don’t flinch if you say methamphetamine is a cause. But they viciously attack anyone who blames the sacred marijuana plant.

A number of violent marijuana users have been in the news lately.

A 14-year-old boy who killed his father and injured three others at a South Carolina school came from a home with both domestic violence and pot. (A report shows his father had convictions for marijuana and domestic violence.)  Perhaps Jesse Osborne’s attack on his dad and others is a reflection of the trauma his dad — a pot user — had inflicted upon him and his mother.  Jesse had been asked to leave school for bringing a hatchet there.

Despite widespread denial among pot users, the following studies show a strong connection between marijuana and domestic violence.  (October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)

Effects of marijuana use on impulsivity and hostility in daily life, by Emily B. Ansell, Holly B. Laws, Michael J. Roche, Rajita Sinha, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 148 (2015) 136-142. January 6, 2015.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep. 2014.12.029/   (Study of 43 subject found marijuana, but not alcohol, use increased interpersonal hostility and impulsivity in daily life, day of use and next day, Smartphone assessments)

The Relationship Between Marijuana Use and Intimate Partner Violence in a Nationally Representative, Longitudinal Sample,”  by Jennifer M. Reingle, Stephanie A.S. Staras, Wesley G. Jennings, Jennifer Branchini, Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, May, 2012.  (Consistent use of marijuana during adolescence was predictive of committing intimate partner violence in early adulthood and being a victim, 2 x more likely.  Sample of 9,400)

Examining the relationship between marijuana use, medical marijuana dispensaries, and abusive and neglectful parenting, by Bridget Freishler, Paul J. Gruenewald, Jennifer Price Wolf,  Child Abuse & Neglect  (2015)  http://dx.doi.org/10/1016/j.chiabu.2015.07/008/  (Telephone survey of 3,023 in California cities concludes current marijuana use correlates to child physical abuse but not neglect, abuse more widespread closer to dispensaries.)

Alcohol and drug disorders among physically abusive and neglectful parents in a community-based sample, by K Kelleher, M Chaffin, J Hollenberg, and E Fischer. American Journal of Public Health, 84 (10) pp. 15861590, (11,000 people with substance abuse problems: abuse-3x more likely, neglect-4x. Substance abuse is involved in 50-80% of child abuse according to this study.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615078/

Violent Behavior as Related to Marijuana and Other Drugs, by Albert Friedman, Kimberly Glassman, Arlene Terras, Journal of Addictive Diseases, Vol 20(1), 2001,pp. 49-72. (Marijuana users nearly as likely to engage in violent behaviors as crack users)
As a nation, we are turning a blind eye to the damage marijuana users may present to women and children.  We need to stop underestimating the poor judgment and the warped sense of time that marijuana users have, which often combined with fires and hot cars, have been lethal.

The Need to Stop Multigenerational Violence and Substance Abuse

For groups advocating to stop violence against women, it’s recommended that “marijuana use should be considered as a target of early intimate partner violence intervention and treatment programming.”  Treating problems at their source is best.

We also must do this to avoid child abuse, because studies show that  “abused children are at special risk to become heavy pot users in adolescence. ” from   Characteristics of Child Maltreatment and Adolescent marijuana Use: A Prospective Study, by Howard Dubowitz, Richard Thompson, Amelia M. Arria, Diana English, Richard Metzger and Jonathan Kotch, Child Maltreatment.    

The Emerald Triangle of Northern California is a reflection of a society with widespread acceptance of marijuana use. There’s  multi-generational drug abuse woven into to the culture, and with it comes addiction and violence.

Prevent Child Abuse America was formed in 1974 and has made little progress.   We’ll only make progress if we make progress with “the war on drugs,” which Drug Policy Alliance mocks and calls a failure.  The alternative is chronic drug abuse and family violence which gives the drug abusers their freedoms but at what cost?   Consider some recent events in Pennsylvania:  a man killed his 5-month old daughter while high on marijuana.   In April, a mother who smoked throughout pregnancy smothered her three-week old daughter who died through asphyxiation.  She admitted to smoking marijuana which made her fall asleep with the daughter in her arms.

A case that happened in West Virginia on October 3 is even more shocking.  At 4:30 a.m., a mother awoke to find her baby covered in blood in the basement with her boyfriend.  The man had sexually assaulted the baby who was brain dead.   It turns out that both she and the boyfriend had smoked pot the previous night.   Under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol, he had a psychotic break.

Instead of arguing that another drug or that alcohol creates more domestic violence, we need to acknowledge that all drug use in interconnected.   Multi-substance abuse is the rule rather than an exception.  Marijuana, however, is most likely to contribute to psychosis, as described above or in other brutal murders.

Bicycling Can’t be Safe with Stoned Drivers on the Road

Photo originally from the website, bikelist.org.

The Richard Tom Foundation honors a bicyclist who was killed by a stoned driver on April 26, 2015, in a double fatal crash.   A homepage for the foundation says “supporting the safety and adventure of cycling for all.”   The driver had 36 nanograms of THC in his system, but it’s hard to get across how dangerous stoned driving is while marijuana proponents advocate for legalization.  (The crash was in Vermont, where legislators decided against legalizing pot this year.)

Photo courtesy of Bike ListPhoto of Richard Tom by John Matrix.  It originally appeared on another website, Bike List

The number of  bicyclists hit and killed by stoned drivers, or critically injured, is growing.  Of course it happens most frequently where marijuana is legalized or where there is medical marijuana.  Congressman Earl Blumenauer is a big advocate for bicycling, a healthy activity at odds with the marijuana businesses he supports.

Last December, a stoned driver hit and killed Martin Greenough in Portland, Oregon.  The man’s family is now suing Portland and the state of Oregon.

Blumenauer4
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Portland, is a great supporter of bicycling. However, advocating for marijuana puts  bicyclists in grave danger.

There were at least two fatal bicycling accidents in the Portland area involving impaired drivers this spring.  Articles mention that the drivers were under influence but don’t reveal what substances caused the impairment.   Stoned drivers are more common in the day while drunk drivers are usually out in the dark.

Kalamazoo, Michigan, June 7

The driver who killed five bicyclists near near Kalamazoo, Michigan on June 6, was high on drugs, legal drugs according to the prosecutors.  It may have been “medical” marijuana which is legal in Michigan.   Four more bicyclists were injured.   MADD warns that “drugged” driving will overtake drunk driving as a cause of accidents by 2020.  Marijuana is the most common drug found with drugged drivers.

Boulder County, Colorado, May 20

In Longmont, CO, a 20-year old driver under the influence of pot killed an 8-year-old girl riding her bike on May 20. She was coming back from school, accompanied by stepdad.

peyton.knowlton.gofundme
The driver who killed Peyton Knowlton, 8, was high on marijuana.   She was riding her bike.

Boulder, Colorado, May 7

Teen Accused Of Being Stoned In Crash That Killed Boulder Couple

Stacy Reynolds and Joe Ramos were much beloved in the community and mourned after their death.  A stoned 17-year-old without a criminal record was driving home from smoking pot with friends.

Morris, Illinois, June 22

The a baggie thrown out to the car that killed bicyclists Janice and Mark Wendling tested positive for marijuana.  The 17-year-old driver said he had used marijuana 2 days earlier.    The driver was a former student of math teacher Janice Wendling.

Salt Lake City, Utah

A driver hit bicyclist while under influence of marijuana, causing critical injuries.

Berkeley, California, February 17

In Berkeley, California, a terrible crash happened when a driver had just come from a medical marijuana dispensary.  The woman was dragged and badly injured but she survived.   It should be mentioned that Berkeley gives out marijuana to homeless residents, a program which makes it more difficult for them to get back on their feet.

Bike lane opens in Berkeley by near-fatal crash site; charges filed against driver, who police say was high

California’s Proposition 64 is called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.  Anyone who believes that legalizing marijuana will keep it out of the hands of teenagers is nuts.   At least three of these fatal crashes were caused by 17-year-old drivers.  Sanctioning adult use of the substance means the children will use it more often and think it’s harmless.

Is Harm Reduction Policy to Blame for Current Drug Epidemic?

A graduate school curriculum in Drug Abuse and Addiction teaches harm reduction as a strategy to train drug abuse counselors.  Inoculating these therapists with harm reduction only is an insidious way to promote drug use, drug abuse and addiction.

Harm reduction strategy does not seem to be curbing the current drug epidemic.  Three bad government decisions and strategies heighten the drug epidemic right now:  Continue reading Is Harm Reduction Policy to Blame for Current Drug Epidemic?

California Citizens Call for Enforcement of Marijuana Laws

By Roger Morgan, Take Back America Campaign #Stoppot2016
Passage of Prop 215, The Compassionate Use Act, in 1996 was a result of a propaganda campaign financed by three out of state billionaires, with George Soros at the helm. It is hard to even describe what one means by “medical marijuana.” The potency (i.e. THC) has escalated from 4 to 6% in 1996 to as high as 40% in smoked form, and 96% as Butane Honey Oil (BHO). Cannibidiol (CBD), the one component that may have therapeutic potential, has been largely bio-engineered out of the plant in favor of THC, because “patients” just want to get high.

Undeterred by the fact that manufacturing BHO is a felony, amateurs are routinely blowing up houses and apartments, killing some, badly burning others, including their kids. Survivors are filling up burn centers throughout the state, costing taxpayers millions of dollars for skin grafts and long hospital stays. Continue reading California Citizens Call for Enforcement of Marijuana Laws