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NDE are the national educational radio network presents special of the week from Yale University from its series called Yale reports heroin marijuana LSD amphetamines. All are words we are using with frequency these days. They have become part of the culture of our younger people. The drugs themselves are used by a striking cross-section of youngsters sixth graders inner city kids suburban teenagers Ivy League college students have been experimenting with drugs some with tragic results. The youngsters say that marijuana isn't harmful that LSD expands consciousness. A few adults agree with them but most do not. Today on Yale reports Dr Donald B Loria author of the drug scene president of the New York State Council on drug addiction and professor and chairman of the Department of Public Health and preventive medicine at the New Jersey college of medicine gives informed opinions about drug use and abuse. He is interviewed by Mrs. Sheila Washington public health administrator of the Hill West Haven unit of the Connecticut mental health
center. Mrs. Wellington Dr. Luria I'd like to ask you what your reaction was to the Woodstock Festival. Primarily that it was an unmitigated disaster because it seems to me we may have taken the giant step toward some sort of mind control either opted for by drug users or imposed from the outside. The reason I say that is that. The 450000 people are primarily young people Woodstock and there were incredible environmental privations with no outbursts with no violence with no intentional property destruction and they were applauded by everybody from the police to the sponsors of the festival for this behavior pattern. And yet that behavior pattern was enormously abetted
by the use of mind altering drugs marijuana LSD meth Adrain all sorts of combinations that they were taking without knowing what they were taking for the most part. Now what bothers me about that is that our society is now in the official position of not only encouraging lawlessness but encouraging drug abuse so long as it results in non destruction of property. And in essence ignoring the potential dangers to the user after all it would stop there were literally thousands despite the official figure 769 there were thousands of drug trips and at least one probably two drug induced deaths and to me that's not exactly an enormous success. I think what we might end up with from this is large groups of people tranquilized by drugs and this could lead over the years to acceptance of this form of drug was ations so that without prescription. 10 15 20 years from now a person could go down to a
drug store and get a suitable mind altering drug either for himself or to give to somebody else. What I'm saying is that these far out ideas are not any longer preposterous and that the possibility of people opting for perpetual serenity in lieu of competitiveness and aggression by the use of drugs I think gets more to be a more and more ominous possibility in our society and that possibility is propelled by Woodstock and other similar events. Are you suggesting then that rather than meeting some of the problems we may have in our society now today people will opt out on a larger and larger scale seek tranquility instead of solving the problems. And that's precisely what I'm saying I think more and more young people are recognizing the enormous problems that our society faces and are deliberately withdrawing from those problems after having made that assessment. In other words they're showing commitment
and they're deliberately opting for withdrawal not infrequently aided by the use of drugs which promote passive and withdrawal drugs such as marijuana tetrahydrocannabinol or LSD. And I think that as our society gets more turbulent. As it is there are more violent patterns within it as the world situation gets more threatening. For example the possibility of a nuclear holocaust becomes more and more the potential for the immediate future so long as that occurs I think more and more people are going to consider the drug induced tranquility is worth choosing. So I think that the unless we reverse this unless we get the kind of leadership that induces young people to become involved in and committed to the problems facing our society that the
potential for drug induced withdrawal in the search for serenity and tranquility will become progressively greater. Your reference to young people brings to mind one of the things I seem to be hearing about drugs which is of course that it's increasingly being used by more and more and younger and younger people from all parts of society. Is this is it ever is it ever as one of the real tragedies of the current drug scene and I would venture to say that those who are proselytizing drugs such as I was day four or five years ago could not have envisioned what would happen namely that we would. Race down the chronological scale so that nowadays the majority of people are coming to colleges with a drug pattern set so that a New York City for example we see 12 11 10 night they get seventh graders smoking marijuana taking pills snuffing drugs such as heroin or meth Adriene and even using these drugs by vein I think that that's one thing that's happened we've gone down the
chronological scale and I think all they're doing is emulating their their elders taking the people in their late teens and early 20s who say The hell with the rules and regulations and laws we want to have drug experiences in kicks. And they're just imitating them except they don't have the sophistication. They don't have the maturity. A motion Lee or mentally to cope with the drugs so that they take anything and everything that's offered to them they take in excessive doses and they have less capacity to cope with the drugs once it's inside their system so that from every point of view the increasing drug use among the very young is a major tragedy in our society. The other thing that's happening is that more and more people of all ages are turning to multiple drug use. It's not just now marijuana it's more likely to be marijuana plus something else such as LSD or methadone or even heroin. And this again is a relatively new phenomenon in our society that is the
multiple drug use in various segments of the population. Is it your experience that it's not confined to one group one kind of person but is widespread in suburbia in the ghetto middle class kids poor kids rich kids you name the place and the likelihood is drugs are there that certain certain parts of the country in the Midwest in the south that have not yet been inundated and as a matter of fact we're now beginning to run into a very intriguing phenomenon. The same people who are arguing so vitriolic Lee against sex education as a communist conspiracy are beginning to link education against drugs as another conspiratorial attempt to inform young people about drugs and to instill in them the motivation for using that as you do invade them into using. So they're saying you shouldn't have sex education and you should shouldn't have anti drug education. Now the course of the asinine part of this argument is that they're promoting that argument
especially right now on the East West Coast. In the very areas in which we know that drug abuse is rampant. Now we cannot any longer afford to allow affluent suburban areas or any other area to put its head in the sand and to ignore the amount of drug use indigenous to the community. It's a threat to every American community. I think that the politicians who label it the number one domestic American problem are exaggerating surely we have worse problems than drug abuse. But there is no doubt that it is one of our most important problems. And No. No community has any guarantee of immunity from drug abuse and more and more communities across this country in every single area are involved in major fashion with the illicit use of drugs. You're suggesting then that programs of education about drug abuse are useful. What other kinds of things are useful for parents to employ or for the society as a whole to
employ. Well to put it very succinctly I think we need laws which are just applied. I don't think it does any good. Just as people not to use the drugs in our hedonistic drug intoxicated society and therefore I think it's mandatory we have laws but better laws than the ones we have now that is more just. Second we need rules and regulations in our schools in colleges that are followed and not just promulgated and then deliberately ignored by the college. Third we need massive preventive education programs which are impeccably honest. And I think if we have those three we can strikingly mitigate our burgeoning drug abuse problem. Are you saying however that legalizing the use of marijuana would not be a way to solve the marijuana problem. It's a disaster. Why. It's a facile solution that ignores virtually every aspect of what we know about marijuana. If we legalize marijuana. What in the world are we going
to do we're going to say you can have one marijuana cigarette a day that's impossible. So we will not prevent somebody from using 5 or 10 cigarettes a day with a segment of the marijuana using population that would opt to do so. And for those people marijuana causes psychological deterioration and of course let's say we said well we'll make it illegal for somebody who's under 17 which is what a lot of people propose. Well again that's stupid if marijuana is available and more available than it is now. What in the world makes people think that the 17 year old is won't get marijuana if they want it and if it's freely available in society of course they'll get it and then it doesn't do anything about the problem of use of the more potent forms. After all we have marijuana which has moderate dangers. At worst. If you smoke it in a limited amount. But hash which is like marijuana only five to eight times a strong is more dangerous than pure tetrahydrocannabinol is even more dangerous. So then we legalize marijuana and then we have it freely available and instead
of whatever using it now we have five or three or four times as many using it because it's so available now are we really so moronic as to believe that a substantial proportion of these people using marijuana and liking it will not insist on going on to more potent forms of the same drug producing a greater experience of the same type. Of course they want it whether it's legal or illegal doesn't make any difference. Do you feel that there are psychological or even physiological dangers from the use of marijuana. There's very little evidence of physiologic danger there's plenty of evidence and it grows every month of potential psychological dangers for example. There are more and more reports on the medical and psychiatric literature of people having acute psychotic reactions as a mental break requiring hospitalization under the influence of marijuana or people having acute panic reaction to despair leading to suicidal attempts. Now what percentage of those who smoke marijuana get this type of adverse effect on small amounts of marijuana. The answer is relatively few. Quite a few but they do get it so it's
not a harmless drug. And more and more we're concerned with people who smoke marijuana say two to four cigarettes a day and have troubles in their thinking powers they don't have brain damage and they don't have any physiologic damage but they don't think as well as they do off marijuana. Sometimes they recognize it more frequently their friends recognize it and they say well someone so just isn't thinking right. Since he's been on marijuana and what we find is the younger the person the more likely that thinking defects will occur with smaller amounts of marijuana even on as little as one cigarette a day. So if the marijuana cult wants to say it's not any more dangerous than alcohol I say of course you're right it's no more dangerous than alcohol. Talking about American type marijuana if they want to say that it doesn't cause any brain damage or violence or doesn't cause addiction I say of course they're right on each count but if they say it's an absolutely harmless drug that it can't hurt anybody. They just are not telling the truth and all the evidence is against them. And again this business of
subtle defection thinking power I think is very significant in an age when all of us need to have unfettered minds if we want to attend to the problems that face our society. Could we turn for a minute to LSD. People around the various campuses indicate that it's you seems to be dropping off because of an increasing awareness on the part of students and others of chromosomal damage. Does there appear to be a decline in its usage. And what about this evidence for chromosomal damage. Well a lot of people think there's a decline in usage but there are no firm data. The most one can say from studies by Blome and his colleagues among others in California from studies on the East Coast is there has not been increase in the amount of LSD use. At the worst it's leveled off. I think that much we can say from the data whether it's diminished I think we can say as far as chromosomal damage is concerned. I think the evidence is good enough to scare any
young individual away from using LSD. If he or she has a grain of sense. Most of the studies not all most of the studies show chromosomal breaks and rearrangements in a majority of LSD users. These studies in men are supported by studies in animals studies in blood cells in the test to about 50 percent of the children born to women who took LSD early in pregnancy have had chromosomal abnormalities and at a very high percentage. There are a small number of cases of leukemia occurring in LSD users. The association is not absolutely clear but nevertheless we see more and more cases such as this every month. I think one cannot deny the potential for genetic mischief. Through the use of LSD I think one can argue that if you get the chromosome
abnormalities they may heal. There are some evidences that they don't heal at least in some of the people. You can say well these leukemia cases those are anecdotal cases and you haven't proved a clear nexus between the two when they're absolutely right. But I think on the other hand as educators we have every right to say that a person who uses LSD knowing about the potential for genetic harm has to be ignorant foolhardy or sick and that right now there is no other alternative you just you take a kid who's you know 20 years old and used LSD when he was 16 and somebody tells him about the studies on potential chromosome damage so he goes to have his chromosomes checked and it happens that he has he's one of the unfortunate ones who has chromosome damage that's lasted for a while. We know some cases and some cases this clearly happens. Now what does he do for the rest of his life. He or she has to worry about the possibility that they might get leukemia for the experience they've had with LSD and they have to
worry about the possibility of passing it on to their children. Oh I I can't see anybody. It is right Ma and using or advocating the use of LSD in our current state of knowledge. And yet some people are saying that the recent government policy of tightening up to close off the Mexican source of marijuana will inevitably lead young people to turning not to marijuana but to other kinds of drugs particularly LSD in order to get the kind of enjoyment that they've experienced. What do you think about that policy end of that cause and effect relationship. Well I know the prediction. My own feeling is that it's a rare clairvoyant who has the arcane powers to predict the reaction pattern of the younger generation these days so I think the predictions are absolutely worthless. That is to say it might not happen but I don't think there's any assurance that it will I. I think the Nixon administration approach of cutting off the
supply in Mexico. It has some merits that deserve to be applauded I think it's it's high time that we paid more attention to reducing supply and I don't think we can control this problem unless we're willing to attack the source of supply. As far as effect on young people again I think it's totally unpredictable. But I think that the administration some of the people I'm not talking about the president now but some of his assistants have made an egregious error in saying to the press we will cut down supply and then we'll see how much they can afford the high prices. For one I don't think that statement is so terrible but I think the accompanying statement that well now we're going to cut down their marijuana supply. Let's see what the young kids will do now we'll show them we mean business. And that statement I've just made is an almost direct quote from a high person in the administration. I think if that gets out and it's clear
that throwing the gauntlet down to young people and saying let's see what you're going to do now it's your move that they very well might use anything and everything just to show that they still are anti-establishment and rebellious whereas first if we modify their way of approaching supply but nevertheless continued the administration attack on supply and simultaneously modified the laws to make them more realistic. We could defuse the whole illicit drug problem among you young people in this country. In other words I don't think you can simultaneously cut down supply and put a ministration bill which does nothing but toughen the laws for marijuana and expect anything but rebellion among young people. You've mentioned twice now changes in the laws. Ones with reference to making them more realistic and ones with reference to making them more just what do you mean by realistic and by just OK. Well let me emphasize I'm implacably opposed to the legalization of marijuana.
Our current laws are so bad so potentially vile. So abused by the people implementing those laws in some areas. That nobody believes in the laws and I mean nobody's kids don't believe in the laws. The place won't apply the laws and they literally won't. They all walk by marijuana smokers and a lot of areas because they don't want to bother busting a kid with a potential sentence facing him. What possibly apply the laws differently to different groups they apply the laws differently to different groups. A lot of the times the district attorneys won't prosecute and it's all a big game in most jurisdictions of a young person that arrested arraigned for a felony charge on drugs. That charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor so that when he gets off with a suspended sentence he goes back to the community and everybody says well the law is a big joke the way we play games with our law in the country it is a big joke so what I'm for is laws that are equitable that are sensible and that are applied so I think if we had sensible laws and somebody were
arrested for selling marijuana he ought to be prosecuted for selling marijuana we should go to him and say Now look fella you sold marijuana but if you will cop a plea then we will charge you with possession of marijuana and the judge will give you a suspended sentence. I think that deter pates our whole legal system. If a guy is selling marijuana he ought to be accused of selling marijuana he ought to be tried for selling marijuana. But we've got to have realistic laws now. What are our laws now. Possession of marijuana. Two to 10 years at a federal level for possession of marijuana. Now if he possesses LSD in the current laws that's much less of a penalty and LSD is a much more dangerous drug. In the new proposed law if he possesses marijuana it's 2 to 10 if he possesses a method Reyna much more dangerous drug. It's 0 to 1. Now those laws are unrealistic they're in equitable they're abominable and they're being misapplied. Their drug subculture keeps putting out little sheet saying So-and-so was placed in jail for
10 years for possession of marijuana and such and such a state or so and so was given 20 to 50 years for selling two dollars of marijuana to a undercover agent. I mean these laws are in many of our states the laws are equivalent to rape mayhem or even homeless. And I think that that cannot last when I think we want to do. Let's just take marijuana. I want to sensible penalty for possession of marijuana. It would be assignment for say 12 consecutive weekends to a local poverty program and then expunge the record. And for second third fourth convictions at the worst never more than 30 days in jail. We keep telling people it's a minor league drug they have no right to say they need their marijuana because it's a little bank and that they have absolutely no right to break our laws for a little ephemeral pleasure that we can produce by giving something they think is marijuana. Well how in the world can we tell them on one hand look fellas this is a minor drug now get off the drug scene with marijuana get on to something that's important for the society and on the other hand say oh by the way our
society feels that should you use marijuana that is Ted about to rape or armed robbery. Now you can't have it both ways either we treat it as it should be and it's a trivial drug and we make the penalty fit the crime. Well we can't handle the marijuana problem sale of marijuana I'd make one to 10 minor sale one year Major importation or sale or distribution. Ten years. So we have flexibility in some states you sell one marijuana cigarette now and you go to jail for a mandatory 20 year minimum. Imagine that imagine taking an 18 year old boy who sold one or two of marijuana cigarettes and sending him to jail for 20 years and that just is an absolute abomination so I say keep the drug illegal. But change your laws make them sensible and once you've made them sensible. Apply them and apply them across the board. And don't bargain with people and if you do that you want increase the use of marijuana you'll defuse the whole problem and then we in the public health profession can successfully glamorize the drug and this fad like every other drug will I think inevitably pass.
If those conditions are met at least over a period of several years you're suggesting then that it is as you said a little back. What do you mean by little bang. Trivial. It will pass. Isn't and isn't as great as it's supposed to be. No I don't have the users don't really claim I say we have gone from using marijuana. I've never used marijuana but I'll concede they have fun for marijuana I would presume they're not stupid enough to be using marijuana if they're not having fun from it. But what I point out to them is that if we give them a cigarette and we don't tell them whether it's marijuana or something that looks like marijuana and smells like marijuana but has no kick to it that all that they cannot tell the difference. And the studies have been done they've been published by for example Dr. Rhys Jones in the American Psychiatric meetings in Florida this spring user's chronic use of marijuana couldn't distinguish placebo with no marijuana from marijuana and kids tell me this all the time they went and they and their friends were smoking with that thought was marijuana and they were all having a marijuana trip until I found out they didn't have any
marijuana at all. Now any drug that's not impotent is minor league and on the one hand they have no right to tell lies. They have to have their marijuana they can stop their marijuana any time it's a minor drug unless you're using the more potent forms or using an awful lot of it. And by the same token we have no right to tell them that we're going to punish them with awful sentences should they violate the laws in regard to a trivial drug that's a stupid as saying anybody who goes through a red light ought to be given five years in jail I would be just about as sensible as our current marijuana laws are. What I'm saying is I you know I think I can be intransigent Lee opposed to the use of marijuana to its legalization. And at the same time be equally opposed to our legal system and demand that we have a sensible legal system that we can all be satisfied with. How about the nature of drugs. How about escalation from marijuana to heroin for example and how that legislation in that area.
Well some people say give them tougher marijuana possession penalties because they may go on to heroin. But I would submit if you're ready to do that then every time a guy goes through a red light you have to put him in jail because he's more likely to commit vehicular homicide in the future. You can't punish somebody for what he might do in a democracy where you no longer have a democracy. So the question is not so we punish people because they might go on to another drug but does marijuana cause people to go on to other drugs and the answer more and more in our society these days is that people who take marijuana a lacked to go on to something else marijuana doesn't push anybody on to anything else but the evidence is that the more you're involved in the marijuana subculture the more likely it is you will choose to try hashish or tetrahydrocannabinol the pure active principle of marijuana or LSD or mescaline or meth the drain that is amphetamine stimulants or heroin. And nowadays as many depending on which group you choose of chronic marijuana users say 10 to 20 percent may play around with heroin they don't become heroin addicts they
rarely do that but they try heroin. What it means is that the more you are involved in the American drug so the drug subculture in 1969 the more likely it is that you will choose to use use of for RAGO of intoxicating drugs and is about to break more and more you'll choose do. To smoke or ingest or inject anything with the promise of intoxication even if you don't know what the drug is. I wonder what kind of drugs will be worrying about in five years. There seem to be so many new names of drugs every six months. You said it was hard to predict but can you predict. You know you absolutely cannot predict all you can say is that. And that's a crucial point that the major argument against drugs should not focus on a given drug or marijuana or heroin or methadone because those drugs change over the years. Now one of the interesting things about our society is that drug use is spreading up and down the chronological scale. We talked about it going down the chronological scale it's also true the people in their late 20s and 30s and early 40s are beginning to use some of these drugs. The major focus at least from the educational
Special of the week
Issue 52-69
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