The federal government classifies marijuana as one of the most lethal drugs; how does this “pernicious drug” stand up to its competition?
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The total number of drug overdose deaths in the United States for the 12-month period ending in December 2016, as calculated by they Centers for Disease Control’s provisional count, was 71,135. Here’s how those break down:
- Attributed to synthetic opioids (excluding methadone): 19,547
- Attributed to heroin: 15,564
- Attributed to natural and semi-synthetic opioids: 14,550
- Attributed to cocaine: 10,479
- Attributed to psychostimulants with abuse potential: 7,602
- Attributed to methadone: 3,393
- Attributed to marijuana: 0
Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths each year in the United States from 2006 – 2010.
You might wonder who stands to benefit from such a misclassification of marijuana. Drug dealers for one. And, to a lesser degree, cops and prosecutors who have used the classification to mass incarcerate blacks. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an avowed racist (though he now denies it), has ramped up enforcement and penalties to increase mass incarceration. It is long past time for the federal government to become rational in its treatment of marijuana.
Lee Knohl, Evanston
End demeaning music
Now that the “Harvey Weinstein” issue has created the #MeToo movement and women are beginning to get the respect they deserve, will BET, MTV and Black music labels end the proliferation of music that demeans women? Will BET and MTV stop airing music that demeans women? Will music labels refuse to distribute music that calls women “Hoes and Bitches”? Or is there too much money at stake?
Why have ANY music labels allowed this in the first place? Will the entertainment industry put an end to the creation of “the Arts” that mocks women? Will the media stop giving headlines to the creators of music that insults women? When will enough be enough? This is where our youth learn these behaviors.
Sean Herling Chicago
Thanks for the terrific editorial on Thursday. As a Sun-Times subscriber for more than 50 years, I still enjoy reading my paper everyday with my coffee. Love the fine writing from all the terrific columnists. Keep up the good work you do for all the citizens of our great city.
D. Milton Salzer, Northbrook
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “At least 25 invasive species of fish have entered the Great Lakes since the 1800s.” Now, a new invasive species is threatening Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes: the Asian carp. Precautions need to be established to stop these carp from entering the lake system as they can be dangerous to the environment.
Although businesses that use the lakes and rivers as trading routes may disagree, barriers need to be set to preserve the unique ecosystem of the Great Lakes. As a resident of the Chicago suburbs, I take a certain pride in living near such a biologically diverse body of water such as Lake Michigan. If Asian carp enter the ecosystem, it could be terrible for the creatures who call the lake home.
“Asian carp… eat up to 5-10 percent of their body weight each day in plankton,” says Michael Hanson, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission Vice-Chair. Plankton is the base of the food chain in the Great Lakes; if the plankton population is destroyed, many other lake creatures will be, too. To keep the lake population safe, Illinois and U.S. officials need to allow the closing of shipping locks and waterways for a temporary amount of time.
We need to be able to keep the spread of Asian carp controlled so as to not put the future of the Great Lake system in jeopardy. While large businesses who use these waterways will have much discontent with this plan, the protection of the lake’s unique ecosystem outweighs any business’ needs. The only way to preserve the Great Lakes system is to make a change and it has to happen now. Already, many species are terraforming the Great Lakes such as the zebra mussel and the round goby. We need to make a change before the stunning beauty and unique life of the Great Lakes is lost for good.
Joshua Roop, Crete
I sent a Christmas card to my aunt. Included in the card were stick erasers for her. Nothing expensive but important because she can’t find them anymore. They cost $16. I dropped the card along with others at my local post office in Summit.
All the cards have arrived except for the one with the erasers in it. Maybe it got lost in the mail, maybe it’s still on the floor somewhere. I hope it wasn’t taken by a postal worker who thought there was something exciting in the envelope. At this time of the year lots of things go missing. Some are actual accidents however some are not. If you, a postal worker, took that envelope hoping to score something sweet…you lost. But I lost more. I lost the chance to send my 70 year old aunt something she really wanted. So I hope that anyone reading this realizes that every envelope carries something important, just not necessarily to YOU but to Me and the recipient. So please think twice before you snatch that package or envelope meant for someone else. I know lots of people are hurting but hurting someone else will not ease anyone’s pain. Stop stealing please. You are stealing more than just an item, you are stealing intentions and love.
You should be ashamed of yourself.
Patricia Salecki, Summit