New study: smoking marijuana/cannabis permanently lowers IQ

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are putting themselves at risk of permanently damaging their intelligence, according to a landmark study.

Researchers found persistent users of the drug, who started smoking it at school, had lower IQ scores as adults.

They were also significantly more likely to have attention and memory problems in later life, than their peers who abstained.

Furthermore, those who started as teenagers and used it heavily, but quit as adults, did not regain their full mental powers, found academics at King’s College London and Duke University in the US.

They looked at data from over 1,000 people from Dunedin in New Zealand, who have been followed through their lives since being born in 1972 or 1973.

Participants were asked about cannabis usage when they were 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38. Their IQ was tested at 13 and 38. In addition, each nominated a close friend or family member, who was asked about attention and memory problems.

About one in 20 admitted to starting cannabis use before the age of 18, while a further one in 10 took up the habit in the early or mid 20s.

Professor Terrie Moffitt, of KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry, who contributed to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said “persistent users” who started as teenagers suffered a drop of eight IQ points at the age of 38, compared to when they were 13.

The truth is that permissive drug policies have been tried and they have failed.

Excerpt:

Amsterdam authorities say they are to halve the number of brothels and marijuana shops in the city’s “red light” district and surrounding area

The city announced plans to clean up the area a year ago and since then 109 sex “windows”, from which prostitutes attract customers, have been closed. The new measures aim to reduce the number of windows to 243 from 482 last year, a city spokesman said.

Amsterdam also wants to close half of the 76 cannabis shops in the city centre.

“Money laundering, extortion and human trafficking are things you do not see on the surface but they are hurting people and the city. We want to fight this,” deputy mayor of Amsterdam Lodewijk Asscher told Reuters.

“We can still have sex and drugs but in a way that shows the city is in control.”

Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000 and its soft drug policy, one of the most liberal in Europe, allows the sale of marijuana and possession of less than 5 grams (0.18 oz).

But Amsterdam’s toughening line is part of a wider trend in Holland.

Two Dutch cities near the Belgian border want to close all their cannabis shops to combat drug tourism and crime.

The 800-year-old red light district needs to diversify and showcase the city’s history, Mr Asscher said.

“This is a nice, old part of town. We can attract different groups of tourists. You should be able to have a beer at the old church square, watch fashion, and visit Chinatown,” he added.

The Family Research Council explains how permissive drug policies don’t actually work as advertised anywhere they’ve been tried.

Excerpt:

Legalizers believe most black market and organized syndicate involvement in the drug business would die and that drug-induced crime would decrease with drug legalization. But these assertions are not supported by the facts. The United States experimented with legalization and it failed. From 1919 to 1922, government-sponsored clinics handed out free drugs to addicts in hopes of controlling their behavior. The effort failed. Society’s revulsion against drugs, combined with enforcement, successfully eradicated the menace at that time.[32]

California decriminalized marijuana in 1976, and, within the first six months, arrests for driving under the influence of drugs rose 46 percent for adults and 71.4 percent for juveniles.[33] Decriminalizing marijuana in Alaska and Oregon in the 1970s resulted in the doubling of use.[34] Patrick Murphy, a court-appointed lawyer for 31,000 abused and neglected children in Chicago, says that more than 80 percent of the cases of physical and sexual abuse of children now involve drugs. There is no evidence that legalizing drugs will reduce these crimes, and there is evidence that suggests it would worsen the problem.[35]

Legalization would decrease drug distribution crime because most of those activities would become lawful. But would legalization necessarily reduce other drug-related crime like robbery, rape, and assault? Presumably legalization would reduce the cost of drugs and thus addicts might commit fewer crimes to pay for their habits. But less expensive drugs might also feed their habit better, and more drugs means more side effects like paranoia, irritability and violence. Suggestions that crime can somehow be eliminated by redefining it are spurious. Free drugs or legalizing bad drugs would not make criminal addicts into productive citizens. Dr. Mitchell S. Rosenthal, expert on drugs and adolescents and president of Phoenix House, a resident treatment center in New York, said, “If you give somebody free drugs you don’t turn him into a responsible employee, husband, or father.”[36] The Justice Department reports that most inmates (77.4 percent male and 83.6 percent female) have a drug history and the majority were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their current offense. And a surprisingly large number of convicted felons admit their crime motive was to get money for drugs. For example, 12 percent of all violent offenses and 24.4 percent of all property offenses were drug-money motivated.[37]

[…]The extent to which individuals commit “drug-related crimes only” is overstated. Most incarcerated “drug”offenders violated other laws as well. Princeton University professor John Dilulio found that only 2 percent — i.e., 700 — of those in federal prisons were convicted of pure drug possession. They generally committed other and violent crimes to earn a sentence.[40]

However, 70 percent of current inmates were on illegal drugs when arrested and, if drugs become cheaper, violent crime could reasonably be expected to increase.[41]

How well did permissive drug laws work in other countries?

History provides evidence that legalization of drugs in foreign nations has not been successful. For example, opium was legalized in China earlier this century. That decision resulted in 90 million addicts and it took a half-century to repair the damage.[59]

Egypt allowed unrestricted trade of cocaine and heroin in the 1920s. An epidemic of addiction resulted. Even in Iran and Thailand, countries where drugs are readily available, the prevalence of addiction continues to soar.[60]

Modern-day Netherlands is often cited as a country which has successfully legalized drugs. Marijuana is sold over the counter and police seldom arrest cocaine and heroin users. But official tolerance has led to significant increases in addiction. Amsterdam’s officials blame the significant rise in crime on the liberal drug policy. The city’s 7,000 addicts are blamed for 80 percent of all property crime and Amsterdam’s rate of burglary is now twice that of Newark, New Jersey.[61] Drug problems have forced the city to increase the size of the police force and the city fathers are now rethinking the drug policy.[62]

Dr. K. F. Gunning, president of the Dutch National Committee on Drug Prevention, cites some revealing statistics about drug abuse and crime. Cannabis use among students increased 250 percent from 1984 to 1992. During the same period, shootings rose 40 percent, car thefts increased 62 percent, and hold-ups rose 69 percent.[63]

Sweden legalized doctor prescriptions of amphetamines in 1965. During the first year of legalization, the number of intravenous”speed” addicts rose 88.5 percent. A study of men arrested during the legalization period showed a high correlation between intravenous use and a variety of crimes.[64]

Dr. Nils Bejorot, director of the Swedish Carnegie Institute and professor of social medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, believes the solution to the growing drug problem is consistent social and legal harassment of both users and dealers.[65]

Great Britain experimented with controlled distribution of heroin between 1959 and 1968. According to the British Medical Journal, the number of heroin addicts doubled every sixteen months and the increase in addicts was accompanied by an increase in criminal activity as well.[66] And British authorities found that heroin addicts have a very good chance of dying prematurely. On the crime front, Scotland Yard had to increase its narcotics squad 100 percent to combat the crime caused by the “legal” addicts.[67]

The Swiss opened a “legalized drug” area in Zurich seven years ago and local addicts were given drugs, clean needles, and emergency medical care. Unfortunately, the liberal policy backfired and the number of addicts surged to 3,500; violence surged, too. “Needle Park,” as it came to be known, was a place of open warfare among rival gangs, and even police faced gunfire. Their cars were attacked and overturned. In February 1995, officials ended the experiment, conceding that it had evolved into a grotesque spectacle.[68]

Why does legalizing drugs increase crime? Because drugs are addictive and they cost money to obtain. Addiction reduces the ability to hold down a job, which is a legal way of getting money. Therefore, addicts will resort to crime in order to get the money to buy their drugs, since their addiction impairs their ability to hold down a job.

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