Friday, November 21, 2008

Impact of Marijuanna and Organized Crime on Society


The RCMP continues to support National Drug/Addictions Awareness Week November 17-21, 2008 by educating the public on the harmful effects of marijuana and its dangerous links to organized crime.

Marijuana is a powerful intoxicant, negatively affecting the brain and central nervous system having short and long-term effects. Some short term effects include slowed-down reactions, clumsiness, reduced ability to concentrate, increased appetite, feelings of calmness with occasional paranoia. Some long-term effects include impairment of higher brain function, decreased motivation, chronic illness due to pesticides and fertilizers used in grow-ops as well as eventual psychological and physical dependence among heavy users.

It is important for parents to discuss this with their children because early use of marijuana by youths is detrimental to school performance, decision-making, planning, reaction time and impulse control in common activities, resulting in loss of potential for the future.

According to the Centre for Addictions Research of BC, 70% of people between 15 and 24 years old have tried cannabis (marijuana plant name) and 47% of 18 to 19 year olds have used it in the last year.

“Marijuana continues to be grown or overseen by organized crime groups who target our young people with this illegal drug trade as well as other drugs sold on our streets such as cocaine and ecstasy,” said Cpl. Richard De Jong.

Addictions to marijuana and other illicit drugs supplied by organized crime groups can lead to a lifetime of dependency causing those involved to commit crimes of opportunity such a break and enter or robberies to support drug users’ habits. Crimes associated to the production of both marijuana and synthetic drugs are for nothing more than illicit financial gain by organized crime.

Drug production labs run by organized crime groups are illegal and do not produce substances for medical purposes. In fact, there is a great deal of violence associated to controlling these illicit gains and quite often these acts of violence cause society an increase of health care and emergency services costs.

The negative impact of organized crime is multifaceted and affects everyone personally, socially and financially. For example, marijuana grow-ops are often subject to “grow-rips” where other criminals break in or home invade where they think a marijuana grow operation is taking place but often target the wrong home, victimizing innocent families and placing neighbourhoods at risk. This is why it is important for every member of society to play their role in combating these crimes by reporting any suspicious activity to their local police.

For more information on the negative impact of marijuana and organized crime as well as how to talk to the young people of your family on its impacts, please click here.


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