To the Editor:
As a treatment provider, I support the Food and Drug Administration’s dismissal of medical benefit from marijuana.
Regardless of the heated political debate that swirls around this issue, the fact remains that despite the Institute of Medicine’s claim to the contrary, for people vulnerable to addictive disease, marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to the use of more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin.
When residents in treatment at Odyssey House (more than 1,000 every day) are asked about their drug history, most adults say it began with marijuana, and virtually all teenagers report marijuana as their primary drug of abuse.
Not everyone who smokes marijuana will necessarily become an addict. But why open the gate to increased use for the sake of unproven medical benefits when we already know the harm that marijuana inflicts on millions of Americans?
President, Odyssey House
New York, April 21, 2006