Alcohol causes way more problems than pot

Shawnigan Lake – There have been a few letters to the Citizen recently regarding the harmful effects of marijuana. I feel that the relatively few negative effects of marijuana are being grossly exaggerated while the negative effects of our most widely abused yet wholly accepted substance – alcohol – are being overlooked.

In the healthcare sector I work in, I rarely encounter patients whose conditions are caused by pot. I would guess that in seven years, I’ve had less than 10 potrelated patients, and all of those patients have merely suffered short-term anxiety that wore off within a few hours.

In contrast, I cannot begin to count the number of patients I have seen that suffered from alcohol-related conditions. Car accidents, bar fights, falls resulting in injuries, liver failure, domestic violence, sexual assaults, internal bleeding from gastric ulcers, and depression are just a few of the common results of alcohol that I witness on a weekly, if not daily, basis. I would estimate that alcohol plays a role in at least five per cent of all the patients I see.

Despite this, very few people think twice about having a glass of wine with dinner or a beer after work. As a society, we largely dismiss the vast negative impacts of alcohol and simply accept this as the norm. Would it somehow be worse to smoke pot after dinner instead? Of course not. It may seem odd or even frightening to people who have never considered such a thing but I believe any reasonable person who gives it some serious thought will realize that smoking pot in the place of consuming alcohol is no more harmful. Bearing this in mind, I can’t understand why someone would condone alcohol use yet oppose marijuana use. At the very least, I hope that anyone who takes a strong stand against marijuana takes an equally strong stance against alcohol. Anything less is hypocritical.

David Barnes

Shawnigan Lake