I appreciated Maxim Furek's review of some items commonly ingested “on the street” (May/June 2006 issue). I am concerned about elevating candy, which contains no drug, no mood-altering substance, and nothing more out of the norm than vegetable/plant oil, to the level of an addictive substance. As a matter of fact, compared to a hard candy that smells like watermelon or candy apple (instead of marijuana), Chronic Candy isn't anything out of the ordinary.
Making sure we never expose kids even to the idea of drugs is no way to assist in prevention. I strongly agree with the similar point made by Bruce Mirken in the July/August 2006 issue, and I hope he would agree with me that putting a nondrug candy on a list of prominent drugs “trivializes the very serious problem of addiction.”
I really think we need to focus our efforts on education, prevention, and treatment for abuse, addiction, and recovery from actual substances of abuse, rather than try to eliminate candy consumption.
H.L. Brostrand, PhD, CRC, LCPC, Carbondale, Illinois
Maxim Furek's Reply
Dr. Brostrand is incorrect to suggest that I have somehow elevated the status of marijuana-flavored Chronic Candy to that of dextromethorphan, khat, or any other illegal, potentially dangerous substance.
The message promoted via products such as marijuana-flavored lollipops is one that sends the wrong signal to our youth. It implies that marijuana (and it matters little if we are talking about pot found in a blunt, joint, or piece of fake marijuana rock candy) is a fun, culturally mainstream, and acceptable product. It suggests that an illegal Schedule I substance in the guise of an innocent candy is okay for youngsters to consume. If we as parents, teachers, and counselors agree that this is permissible, then we have in essence surrendered in this initial phase of the ongoing battle against drugs.
As we are all involved in various aspects of the drug problem, it is imperative to find common ground and not make the situation more complicated or confused than it need be. Dr. Brostrand's comments do just that. What my article clearly depicted was a list of several contemporary drug trends that addiction professionals should be aware of. To imply that this article has somehow “trivialized” the issue of addiction is far removed from the context and the reality of my essay.