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Chief Russ Roper
534 Washington Street
Montpelier, ID 83254
Work: 208-847-4237
Fax : 208-847-1346


Chief’s Message Saturday, January 09, 2010

Alcohol vs. Marijuana

I had an interesting visit with a mother the other day. She caught her son smoking marijuana. She asked him why he was doing something illegal and bad for him. His response was, “Tell me how it’s bad for me?” He went on to tell his mother that drinking alcohol was worse and it’s legal. Mom didn’t know how to reply to this so she came to me.

You decide. Here are the facts:

Alcohol consists of one substance; ethanol. Marijuana contains more than 400 known chemicals, including the same cancer causing substances found in tobacco smoke. Unlike cigarettes smokers, pot smokers inhale deeply and hold the smoke in as long as they can to increase the effect of the drug, worsening the damage to the lungs.

Alcohol is eliminated from the body in a few hours, but THC from marijuana stays in the body for weeks, or even months, depending on the length and intensity of usage.

THC damages the immune system, putting people with existing medical conditions at greater risk for complications from their existing condition. Alcohol does not.

The mental consequences of marijuana use are equally severe. Marijuana smokers have poorer memories and mental aptitude than do non-users because the THC disrupts nerve cells in the brain affecting memories.

Studies in Australia in 2008 linked years of heavy use to brain abnormalities. And a number of studies have shown a connection between continued marijuana use and psychosis.

There is no intention here to minimize the dangers of alcohol abuse, which can be equally harmful. I have seen firsthand the ramifications of abusing either one, wrecked lives and death. Next to alcohol, marijuana is the second most frequently found substance in the bodies of drivers involved in fatal automobile accidents.

Thanks For Reading,

Greg Butler