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Marijuana Legalization Looms - Suncoast Rehab Center Says “Gateway Drug” Could Lead to Harder Narcotics, Burden Criminal Justice System

Spring Hill, FL (PRWEB) November 01, 2013

Following the legalization of recreational marijuana use in both Colorado and Washington, advocates are now beginning to focus their efforts on Northeastern states, including Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire (1). But Spring Hill drug rehabilitation center Suncoast Rehab Center says that legalizing the drug is not only irresponsible, but also opens the door to drug abuse and addiction.

Past experience with even tightly regulated drugs, such as Oxycontin, shows that legalizing drugs widens availability and misuse, even when controls are in place - legalizing marijuana would increase use of the drug and, consequently, the harm it causes, likely adding to the already heavy burden on the criminal justice system (2). Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs have the following characteristics, per the United States Drug Enforcement Agency:

?The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse;
?The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.;
?There is a lack of accepted safety protocols for use of the drug or substance under medical supervision; and
?No prescriptions may be written for Schedule I substances, and they are not readily available for clinical use (3).

And according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the long-term effects of marijuana can lead to:

?Poorer educational outcomes, poorer job performance and diminished life satisfaction;
?Respiratory problems (chronic cough, bronchitis);
?Risk of psychosis; and
?Cognitive impairment (4).

Suncoast Executive Director, Tammy Strickling, says that legalizing marijuana runs the risk of creating a situation of drug abuse for which the U.S. is unprepared—Strickling cites the p

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