In response to the Desert Sands Unified School District's opposition to Proposition 19, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) has encouraged fellow school districts to do the same.
During Congresswoman Bono Mack's tenure in Congress she has worked extensively on combating illicit and prescription drug abuse among teens, and spreading awareness of the devastating impact drug addiction has on communities and families. The Congresswoman reached out to school boards in the 45th Congressional District urging them to voice their opposition to the ballot initiative--Proposition 19 which will be voted on November 2--because marijuana has long been viewed as a gateway drug to abusing other substances.
Please see the copy of the letter from Congresswoman Bono Mack to the school boards:
I write regarding the upcoming vote in California's General Election on Proposition 19 -- to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Recently, Desert Sands Unified school board came out in opposition to Proposition 19 and I encourage your school board to voice its opposition as well.
As a Member of Congress who has worked extensively to fight substance abuse and addiction, especially the disturbing rise in prescription drug abuse, I understand the devastating impact drug and alcohol abuse has on people, particularly our youth. Marijuana has long been viewed as a gateway drug to abusing other substances. Legalizing marijuana will surely make the growing drug problem facing our youth even worse.
The recently released 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed alarming increases in the use of drugs. The study found that marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug - 16.7 million people age 12 or older were current marijuana users, meaning they used the drug during the month prior to taking the survey, and more than 3.3 million 12- to- 17 year-olds were past-year marijuana users. The study further showed that the rate of past-month marijuana use among 12- to- 17-year-olds climbed to 7.3% in 2009 from 6.7% in 2008.
Some claim marijuana is a harmless drug, but using it can cause intoxication leading to distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, and difficulty in thinking, problem solving and learning. Some may say these affects do not last, but teens' futures depend on their ability to learn, retain information and develop. Furthermore, research shows marijuana is addictive, with 25-50% of daily users becoming addicted, including higher levels for those who start as teens. In addition, parents and educators who may use the drug can create a negative or dangerous environment for youth, lowering the quality of adult supervision and road safety.
I encourage your board, as respected leaders in our education community, to join me by expressing opposition to Proposition 19. We need to do all we can to keep our youth healthy and engaged in positive activities and away from drugs and other unhealthy habits that could put them on a dangerous, or even deadly, path.