How To Do Life

Fresh ideas about career and personal issues

Is It Time to Moderate Your Substance Abuse?

Are you paying too big a price for your substance abuse? Read More


Dr. Nemko-
I am an RN who has worked in Psychiatry for the past 4 years in various settings, Psych ER, to ECT, to PACU, to Inpatient, to Behavioral Medicine, to Partial-Hospitalization, to Chemical Dependency. I usually very much enjoy the work I read on this site. However, I find it unfortunate you have decided to attach yourself to this government position. To begin, of course there was a 44% increase in positive THC drug tests; that was to be expected with the legalization. I was also disappointed to follow your link to the White House Admin. position on marijuana, utilizing data collected in 1994; to be fair some citations were relevant from 2010. I am not sure when you completed your degree, but during my academic career, it was required that any cited sources could be only 5 years old, maximum. On top of this, the fact that it is stated marijuana is the second highest drug people seek treatment for....I know I am only objectively familiar with my home state, but that simply does not sit well with me. I have not once encountered a patient who was referred to treatment for only marijuana use. Secondly, this tells people that drugs like heroin, crack, or even meth are not as "bad" as Marijuana. This is not right. You would be wise to focus your writings on a beneficial topic instead of poorly attempting to counteract what is already set in motion, ie: increased marijuana legalization. As for these "studies" showing a plethora of negative outcomes specific to marijuana use? I simply don't buy it. These studies have all been done before, and if these so called negative effects truly occur, we would have seen that the first time around. The studies also need to take into account for medications, family medical histories, and thorough examinations. for example, one of the first studies this year to claim a woman had cardiac arrest because of marijuana use, was found to be erroneous; she had an underlying heart condition that was not discovered until the autopsy. This was also the case for 2 other males overseas. I digress, but I do thank you for your time.
B. Hanson BSN, RN


The three studies I cite are all published within the last month. The data against marijuana is now overwhelming. I aggregated more of it that I put in this article here:

Moderation and abstinence

I like your observation that some people can quit and others can moderate.
I could not moderate (maybe, through and act of God I might, but otherwise, no) and that knowledge prepared me for abstinence but I was an end stage alcoholic. When I was a beginning or middle stage alcoholic I could.

Anyway, I think some of the people would learn a lot about their using if they tried to moderate. Whether they failed or not, they would know something.

I think it scares a lot of people who are experiencing difficulties away. My way or the highway and if you don't quit you are a failure and immoral.

No wonder no one wants to admit they are drinking more than what they think is appropriate. Some people still think "blame and shame" are the tactics being used in rehab.

It is unfortunate that people are frightened by treatment. I think a lot of lives, marriages, families could be saved if we didn't tell them it is all or nothing.


I just wanted to thank you, Mark Noo, for the valuable contribution. I hope people read your comment.

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Marty Nemko is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, Ca. and the author of 7 books. 

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