Alas, I find it necessary yet again to haul down from the attic James Petigru’s way-too-often quoted description of my native state:
South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.
What prompts today’s revival of Petigru’s apt observation is Attorney General Alan Wilson’s idiotic proclamation that marijuana is “the most dangerous drug” in America, edging out, it would appear, crystal meth, cocaine, crack, heroin, and [drum roll] aspirin.
Here are some 2017 numbers from the CDC:
According to the Centers for Disease Control, using data available for analysis on September 5, 2018, there were a reported 70,652 deaths attributed to drug overdose in the US for the year ending December 2017. Some deaths were still under investigation. The CDC projects that the total for 2017 will be 72,222.
Opioids were detected in 47,863 reported deaths, and are predicted to be involved in 49,031 deaths.
Synthetic opioids, excluding methadone, were detected in 28,644 reported deaths, and are predicted to be involved in 28,644 deaths.
Heroin was detected in 15,585 reported deaths, and is predicted to be involved in 15,941 deaths.
Natural and semi-synthetic opioids were detected in 14,553 reported deaths, and are predicted to be involved in 14,940 deaths.
Cocaine was detected in 14,065 reported deaths, and is predicted to be involved in 14,612 deaths.
Psychostimulants with abuse potential were detected in 10,420 reported deaths, and are predicted to be involved in 10,703 deaths.
Methadone was detected in 3,209 reported deaths, and is predicted to be involved in 3,286 deaths.
Here’s what the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology has to say about marijuana:
Tetrahydrocannabinol is a very safe drug. Laboratory animals (rats, mice, dogs, monkeys) can tolerate doses of up to 1,000 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram). This would be equivalent to a 70 kg person swallowing 70 grams of the drug—about 5,000 times more than is required to produce a high. Despite the widespread illicit use of cannabis there are very few if any instances of people dying from an overdose. In Britain, official government statistics listed five deaths from cannabis in the period 1993-1995 but on closer examination these proved to have been deaths due to inhalation of vomit that could not be directly attributed to cannabis (House of Lords Report, 1998). By comparison with other commonly used recreational drugs these statistics are impressive.”
What prompted Wilson’s injudicious misrepresentation of the facts was not a call for the legalization of marijuana in South Carolina but merely the introduction of legislation “that would allow patient’s to obtain it with a doctor’s prescription.”
More from Wilson’s press conference:
[Users employ] words like stoned, high, wasted, baked, fried, cooked, chonged, cheeched, dope-faced, blazed, blitzed, blunted, blasted, danked, stupid, wrecked — and that’s only half the words they use,” Wilson said. “Are these consistent with something that describes a medicine?”
Now that’s what I call scientific!
The truth of the matter is that your chances of croaking, bellying-up, kicking the bucket, cashing in chips, joining the invisible choir, buying the farm, and shuffling off the mortal coil are infinitely greater from a perfectly legal prescription of OxyContin than it would be from medical marijuana.
I’m in no way advocating the use of marijuana but merely pointing out the inanity of our public officials, how the Republican Party ignores science in formulating policies.
Speaking of gateway drugs, I’ll leave you with this:
On the Slave Ship Lollipop
I used to stuff my face with candy
when I was a little boy,
couldn’t cop enough Mary Janes,
would kill for an Almond Joy.
Then I graduated to the Real Thing – Coke.
I was popping five cans a day,
plopping nickels and dimes upon the counter
under caffeine and sugar’s sway.
Now I’m hooked on heroin,
am little more than a thug.
Wish I’d known then what I know now –
that sugar is the gateway drug.