There’s a story out on Colorado where Smart Colorado, the anti-pot people, are lamenting that the rate of marijuana use went up for those 18-25 (even though it dropped for those 12-17).
So what? Five out of eight of the people aged 18-25 can legally smoke pot! I’d EXPECT the 21-25s to be smoking more pot after legalization, and I’m not too upset that someone old enough to vote, enlist, and buy a gun is getting her hands on some weed illegally.
When I tweeted it, I got a response from a doctor who pointed out the legality of their use is irrelevant. It’s worrisome from a public health angle, since our brains don’t stop developing until age 25.
Fair enough… so why don’t I ever see a “don’t drink alcohol until you’re 25” campaign? If our developing brains are buggered by cannabis, what the hell is alcohol doing to us?
It’s because there is never, ever, any public health campaigns to convince people to drink less or not at all. No “drinking will ruin your life’s potential” ads to teens. No “don’t drink alcohol around your kids because they look up to you and mimic you” warning slips handed out with every bottle of alcohol at the liquor store. We get “drink responsibly,” but never “drink less alcohol less often.” We get “don’t drink and drive,” but never “don’t drink.”
It’s because alcohol is not a drug in our society. It is a socially-acceptable alternative to drugs. It’s embedded that way in our very thought processes, as encoded in our language. You’re not a “druggie,” you’re a “drinker.” Not “high,” but “buzzed.” Not “an addict,” but “an alcoholic.” Not “stoned,” but “drunk.” Not in a “drug den,” but at “a tavern.” “Not “super-potent,” but “120 proof.” For just about any word you can throw my way with a drug connotation, I can find you an alcohol equivalent term that sanitizes and euphemizes the devastation of that drug.
I swear I am going to start a non-profit called TALM – Treat Alcohol Like Marijuana. It will take every anti-drug poster, public service ad, government health warning, cannabis regulation, and anti-pot preaching, then use a MS-Word search-and-replace to switch out “cannabis” for “alcohol,” “marijuana” for “liquor”, and “pot” for “booze.” People would be shocked by what they read.