Federal drug czar John Walters says that marijuana is as serious a drug as any other, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. Walters was in Cincinnati yesterday as part of a push to convince Americans that marijuana isn’t a “soft” drug. Too many young people start smoking marijuana because they think it’s harmless, he said. “The single biggest enemy is cynicism,” he said in a speech at a substance-abuse treatment shelter for women.
Marijuana is increasingly the primary cause of admissions to substance-abuse treatment facilities, he said. In 2002, about 130 people of every 100,000 who were 12 or older sought help for marijuana abuse. That was up by 162 percent from a decade earlier. Walters called marijuana abuse a “pediatric-onset disease.” Walters supports confidential, non-punitive drug testing for teenagers to get them help. About 140 schools across the country do that now.