It is prescriptions not marijuana that kill

February 13, 2012

As you all probably know by now, singing legend Whitney Houston died over the weekend in what news outlets are now saying was a deadly combination of alcohol and prescription medication.  Ms. Houston's struggles with drugs and alcohol over the past decade or more are well documented.  She notoriously defended herself against allegations that she was a crack addict by saying that "Crack is whack," and going on to say that she was rich and could afford the "good stuff." 

Legendary singer Tony Bennett came out yesterday and stated that he blames Ms. Houston's death, as well as the death of Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse, on the War on Drugs.  He rationale seems to be that by legalizing drugs people would "have to get it from a doctor, not just some gangsters that sell it under the table."  He compared America's War on Drugs to Amsterdam's tolerance, and noted that in Amsterdam "there's no panic in the streets." 

While I agree that drugs should be legalized and taxed, I don't quite follow Mr. Bennett's reasoning.  Both Michael Jackson and Ms. Houston's deaths were brought about, in part anyway, from legal prescription drugs.  The real problem with many legal drugs is that they can be far deadlier than some, if not most illegal drugs - and certainly deadlier than marijuana.  I've never heard of someone overdosing on marijuana.  (Although there is a quite funny recording of an off duty police officer who thought he and his wife overdosed after eating a batch of pot brownies - apparently he swallowed the government's "marijuana kills" pill.)

Mr. Bennett, it seems accidentally, brought up an interesting issue that should be debated.  There is no doubt that prescription pills can and do become quite addictive.  They also destroy body tissue quite rapidly, especially when used over a prolonged time period.  Since marijuana is not as hard on the body as even Tylenol when used over extended periods of time, then why does our government continue to insist it is a deadly drug?  What is their motivation for denying American citizens a cost effective, all natural pain reliever for chronic illnesses, and instead insist on making criminals out of those who would rather ingest a relatively harmless plant than dangerous chemicals mixed by pharmaceutical companies who line the pockets of political campaigns?  Oh, wait...I think I just answered my own question.