I just wrote and sent a letter to Vancouver's mayor and council members, as well as to our education minister and I'm sharing it here.
In Vancouver, medical marijuana clinics have been popping up by the dozens. However, the ease of obtaining marijuana has resulted in it being used and abused by those who don't need it for medicinal reasons, and now many families are dealing with the ramifications of marijuana addiction in their children.
If you would like to write letters of your own to your elected officials and to those who educate your children, I strongly urge you to do so. Your voice needs to be heard.
June 18, 2015
Dear Minister of Education: Province of British Columbia Hon. Peter Fassbender:
Hello, my name is Candace Plattor, and I am an Addictions Therapist in private practice in Vancouver. I have worked in this field for over 25 years, 16 of which were in the Downtown Eastside, helping the addicts and alcoholics there. I now work primarily with the loved ones of addicts, because there is so little help for them out there. I have written two award-winning books on this subject, which you can read more about here: www.candaceplattor.com/books.
I am also the loved one of addicts, and I now have 28 years of sobriety from drugs and alcohol myself. As you can see, I know addiction from many different personal and professional angles -- and I ask that you take this letter seriously. I know what I'm talking about.
My addiction started when I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 1973 -- at which time the doctors did not know how to help me, as Crohn's was a relatively new illness at that time.
Addiction was not on the radar then as it is today, and in their ignorance my physicians prescribed very addictive medications for me such as valium, codeine, and other morphine --based drugs. I also used pot to help with some of my symptoms -- and that soon became my drug of choice. My active addiction went on for over 15 years, with prescriptions being given to me over and over again, week after week, year after year.
I am here to tell you that the drug we're addressing today -- marijuana is addictive. There is no question about that. When I began using pot, I was doing it medicinally (although I did not have that term for it back then). It definitely helped to ease my physical pain.But the pot I was using then was not the same pot we have now -- it's a much stronger drug now, being cut with many other substances in most cases. And many of the people -- especially teens -- who are using it, are not using it medicinally but are saying they are because
- that is now the societally acceptable thing to say, and
- it's so very easy for them to get it on that basis.
There is no responsible legislation that I know of to safeguard the prescriptions that the doctors associated with these new pot clinics so freely dispense. The bottom line -- money -- seems to be what's most important to our elected officials, and I see that as a societal travesty.
This is still an illegal drug in Canada and it IS addictive. This particular substance is making the addicts who continue to use it, often on a daily basis, "stupid" and lazy, not learning to deal with their life tasks -- nor are they giving back to society in any meaningful way. Rather, they are merely taking from responsible taxpaying citizens, who are starting to get very angry about what they see happening with all of the madness accompanying this "medical marijuana" situation.
This drug is tearing families apart. And we are allowing that to happen -- specifically, politicians and educators are allowing that to happen by colluding and agreeing to do nothing about it. This situation keeps me working -- there are always clients wanting to see me -- usually the addicts' family members. Frankly, I'd be happy to find some other way to be of service to the world.
I am asking you to seriously consider your decisions about how you're handling this crisis. My hope is that you will choose to support the solution rather than enabling the problem to continue.
Addiction is a progressive condition by nature, and I assure you that this situation will not get any better as time goes on, only worse. The people who are enabling the problem are essentially legalizing and normalizing a toxic, damaging substance -- no matter how one ingests it -- and the ones who will suffer most will be our youth and their families. What does this say for future generations? I don't know how the people we vote for can't see this or why they would allow this entire travesty to continue.
Please understand that I don't condemn marijuana for medicinal purposes. I believe there is a time and place for this service, for those who actually need it for that reason -- and I'm glad it exists for those people. But to make pot this accessible, with no strict, legislated guidelines especially directly related to our youth, is nothing more than devastatingly irresponsible. I implore you to think again before you contribute to making this easy attaining of pot the status quo.
Candace Plattor, M.A., R.C.C.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: