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The return of reefer madness

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Joined: 09 July 2004
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    Posted: 23 September 2005 at 12:57
The U.S. drug czar's office is running ads implying that smoking marijuana can lead to insanity. But pushing dubious science is no way to persuade teenagers not to do drugs.

Parents who read the New York Times or Newsweek this past summer could be forgiven for freaking out when they came across a full-page ad warning them about the effects of marijuana on their teenagers. If the kids were off somewhere sparking up a joint, the federally funded message seemed to say, they were at risk for severe mental illness. Were those parents hallucinating, or was Reefer Madness, long since debunked, suddenly a real problem to be reckoned with?

The latest salvo in the never-ending war on drugs, the ads, which also ran in magazines like the Nation and the National Review, bore a stark warning. Under the headline "Marijuana and Your Teen's Mental Health," the bold-faced subhead announced: "Depression. Suicidal Thoughts. Schizophrenia."

By Maia Szalavitz for

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