Marijuana is not an alternative; it is a proven evil
In drug use, sometimes lethal does not necessarily mean physical death, but social or psychological death when you are still alive, the death of the relationship with yourself, says psychologist María Esther Ortiz Quesada, a specialist in the field. –in an interview with JR.
Francisco Arias Fernández
September 10, 2016 22:40:51 CDT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
MS María Esther Ortiz Quesada, professor of psychology at the University of Havana, has dedicated her life to saving and bringing back many who were lost to addictions.
Since early 2003, she began conducting a number of radio and television programs on the subject. She is an authorized professional, a communicator par excellence and has been one of the leaders of the battle against drugs for the last four decades, in the fields of health, clinical psychology and social communication.
A “Bayamesa” [from Bayamo in Granma province] by birth, she embraced her cause and defends it in the clinic through group and individual therapy; in university classrooms, passing on her knowledge and experience to future saviors; in the mass media, reaching even the most intricate, distant homes and perhaps –with good luck—those who need help the most.
When I checked with my interviewee if I had correctly listed the fundamental elements of her resume, she confirmed her high sense of belonging and commitment:
“I am proud of my work as a teacher. My students are proof that youth is not lost; they are the fundamental source of that certainty and fertile land where I place my hopes. In the media, either as a consultant, conducting workshops and seminars for journalists and creators or as a communicator, I have been given the opportunity to go outside the office and classroom to carry the message… even to places where it is not welcomed. All I have done, everything, started and developed in the department of Specialized Treatments at the Psychiatric Hospital in Havana. That’s my origin (Mental Hygiene), and I would love to have this on record. “
Her answers to the most diverse questions surrounding marijuana today help us understand the dangers of that harmful substance for human beings and society.
Q: The most marketed and consumed illicit drug in the world is still marijuana. What is the impact of this international trend in Cuban patients and what are its most common effects?
A: I wonder if marijuana is really the most commonly used drug. I think that probably the most consumed drugs in the world –although there are no actual records– are the medications used for purposes that are not scientifically justified, that is, when a legal drug to cure certain diseases becomes illegal by how it is used; these drugs are misused in prisons, schools, at parties and other situations.
Beyond this perspective, I agree that among illegal drugs marijuana is the most widely consumed; it benefits from the promotion it receives, international advertising, especially on the internet, in movies and the mass media. Many believe that, because of its natural origin, marijuana is not harmful. There is also the naive believe that it is a gift from nature, not processed by humans and therefore good. The existence of laboratory marijuana is overlooked: that is, synthetic cannabis products which are the result of hundreds of formulas invented by humans, and are harmful products widely consumed in our planet.
Right now most patients who come to my clinic are marijuana consumers and it is clear that the last to realize that they are going down the wrong path are the consumers, even if they have not reached the addiction stage. They are not exactly the ones who request specialized help. Those who do become aware of the problem are the relatives who try desperately to find a solution.
The most common conditions among my patients have to do with family fractures, with damage to the family. A part of the family does not believe there is a problem and others are sure that what is happening to their loved one has to do with the consumption of marijuana. The consumer rejects the idea that he has any problems and that these could be associated with marijuana.
All this creates a conflict within the family that diverts attention from the real problem, which is the use of the drug. To me this discrepancy is most relevant because when those persons do not know what is wrong and have not sought help, they have no guidance to handle the situation properly; then the situation becomes much more complicated, and it primarily affects the consumer.
The most important damage I’m seeing is the “lack-of-motivation” syndrome: the person breaks their productive ties to society, because he or she may have too many “interests” and many “desires” but no longer has the psychological energy to organize a project and carry it through. In addition, there is the frustration of not being able to achieve anything, because he or she really does not have the possibility of carrying out a project. One frustration comes after another among marijuana users, because they accomplish nothing, they lose discipline, and the capacity to make the efforts or sacrifices that the fulfillment of any project requires.
On the other hand, there are those who have a creative life, because they are artists or simply dedicated to creation in general, but the muse never comes or disappears, and they begin to justify it calling it a creative block. Others begin to have problems in healthy relationships with their partners and these difficulties lead them to split up. When both partners use, coexistence becomes very difficult because they are constantly in conflict. It is something like a double addiction: to marijuana and bad relationships.
I have known cases where a partner has found out that the other goes out to use marijuana with other people. They consider this worse than adultery, because it reveals the very high importance that is given to the substance.
Also among the people I treat many have difficulties in their sexual relationships. When both partners are consumers they almost do not see the problem, because they are steeped in the world of alleged sexual fantasies that are initially imagined as hope for pleasure, until they annihilate all authentic intimacy. But when only one of the two is the consumer, then the problems really multiply. It happens especially with men who are consumers and women who are not. In such cases the women often complain that “even in bed I´ve lost him, I do not know where my husband is, because he is nowhere”, and she doesn´t have him even for helping take care of the children.
About those who seek to accompany sex with drugs: I think people should naturally discover the wonders of sex. The mixture of sexual enjoyment with marijuana or other substances to try to reach alleged fantasies, or the attempt to find always something different, becomes a trap that often leads to many frustrations.
A teenager, a young man who is endowed with enough hormones to enjoy any contact with his partner has absolutely no need to use drugs. I have treated teenagers who have been initiated in the use by a partner who encouraged him in his first sexual relationship, to mix it with marijuana. Many of these young people establish such a strong tie to the substance that they lose the possibility of sexual performance and require therapy to recover the ability to achieve a sexual relationship without the presence of the drug.
Other cases have come upon marijuana at a party, where –according to their description– they share a “joint” among a small group. There are those who choose to yield and not become the “odd one”, but they don’t really want to join the consumption; however, they do not feel ready to reject it and continue down the downward road. A young man told me that to avoid it, instead of inhaling the smoke, what he did was to blow it out so the others would think that he was actually smoking. Clearly this was intended to evade consumption, but he was still exposed to the smoke exhaled by the consumers and the consequent results.
In recent times there have been more frequent cases of cannabis psychotic crises and I believe that they are linked to brain damage caused by prolonged consumption of this substance, often enhanced by using other drugs. The syndrome that characterizes cannabis psychosis is very peculiar: florid but indefinite paranoid symptoms appear which are not always reversible.
I remember once, in my clinic, a salamander dashed in chased by a cat. I managed to save the reptile from the feline. A few months later one of the boys confessed to me: “Imagine how screwed up I was, that the day I saw the salamander, I thought it was a device that you had there to film me and that you were adjusting the equipment.” Asked how he saw it now, he replied: “I’m sure it’s not the way I saw it, but I still believe it was so”. This puzzled me, because he had seemingly overcome the crisis; however, this response demonstrated the existence of psychotic residuals.
We are not talking about underfed boys, most have no serious conflicts with their family, they are not frustrated in their aspirations of getting this or that career or job. Many are accomplished persons in their projects, who simply mixed with human groups who consumed marijuana.
The danger lies in the fact that to accept the risks of consuming some have to go through these psychotic crises that affect them deeply. This has to do with beliefs, which are the cognitive component of behavior. Hence people behave according to their concepts and it is precisely on these where we specialists must act in the rehabilitation process of these patients.
For years the notions that marijuana “does no harm, that it facilitates sex, that it makes persons more likeable, that it enlightens and brings the muse to a creator” have been encouraged. Now, countries that are supposedly more developed than ours accept consumption of marijuana as something legal; these harmful ideas become globalized and reach us strongly from all sides.”
Q: Then, what can we do to protect ourselves?
A: What is essential to prevent any harm, mainly to prevent the use of marijuana is a cohesive family. That is paramount. I mean a family that teaches that life is a process and that the acquisition of goods, the achievement of goals… everything is a process. These things are not bought; they are achieved through hard work, discipline, organization and diligence. We are talking about a family that enjoys the process of building things, and does not expect to get things done in rush.
Drugs tend to make people feel that they get what they need or want right there and then. There are those who turn to drugs in order to supposedly leave depressive moods behind. Sadness cannot disappear immediately; one has to learn that there are sorrows that are there and must be dealt with, that they are manageable and gradually diminish and disappear. But to think that they will disappear with a pill or marijuana joint is a serious mistake.
The family must also uphold honesty always –and not only in words. They must instill it in behavior. They must teach their children to enjoy the little things in life: watching television together, cooking, eating together, sharing enjoyments, making them feel that home is like a shelter where they will always be protected.
The family should teach children to be assertive and not aggressive. People confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness. They should learn to defend positions and principles: I am a human being regardless of what I own. Maybe I’m smart, maybe I’m not, but I am disciplined, polite, I work hard, I am an individual with values. These values should be acknowledged in children so that they feel good being who they are. They should not be asked for more than they can give. We should learn to demand more when we know they have talent and ability to do more; but we must learn to do that and not overwhelm or belittle them.
The family must also be able to supervise, and not trust blindly. Children are vulnerable at a certain age and we must be alert to help them at the right time. We have to be close to them when values are sown, we cannot be absent or far away. Parents must be their monitors, aware of their role in the family.
In my view, the key factor in drug prevention, above all things, is the family. Secondly, public policy, which must be clear, consistent and enforced.
To be effective in the rehabilitation process, we must first know the patient well. At first, I can rarely launch myself into battle to destroy false beliefs. I must first know the terrain because I want to be accepted, to establish a real communication with the consumer and I cannot be an extension of those who reprimand him or her in and out of their home. I must be someone they can trust.
Recently I treated a young marijuana user who had many problems and was initially very reluctant to get help and was very aggressive. I then decided to have a very open consultation with him; sometimes I made a joke over what he said and before he left he told me: “You are quite the opposite of what I expected, and I’ll start thinking about what you say.”
We must look for the most effective ways to reach these persons with a positive message, to be able to influence their beliefs; to put in their hands a book or accurate information, conceived by others, not necessarily by the psychologist who treats them. And we can say: “Look, I’m not the one who says this; this was written by a French or a Canadian specialist, many miles away, but it has to do with you … So just think about it, I would like you to read it.” It is a way of introducing dialogue, especially with those who are focused on what other countries allow or promote. Moreover, I also mention national colleagues, and this always leaves room for other alternative specialized treatments.
It is important to teach and assist children from early childhood so that they learn to say no. That’s my position. Sometimes you hear parents saying: “This kid cannot say no; anyone talks him into doing this or that.” However, that same young person is the one who says “I won’t go to the store, I won’t throw the garbage away, I can’t do that right now …” So, he or she really knows how to say no.”
The issue is to help them to say no in the right place and at the right time. It is a way to fix positions, perhaps even to create values. Saying no to what may be negative or harmful for the child, adolescent, young person or adult. Help them be ready to say no to drugs wherever they are, be it Cuba, Hong Kong or New York… wherever… But we need to train them from childhood at home.
This means making them ready for a flat out NO. Some resort to the excuse of saying: “No, I have my own.” And that’s not the way. The way is simply being able to say: “No, I do not use drugs, nor do I have to.” In other words this is to say: “Why do I have to give in; why do I have to play the game? Why smile at the enemy? “In a recent public meeting we had, I heard a teenaged high school senior and his two companions, students also, saying how much they enjoyed saying no to invitations to consume; how strong this makes them feel.”
Q: Have you suffered the permanent loss of any of your patients to marijuana?
A: Three of my patients have died. One was addicted to marijuana and I was told that he got killed. He was a person who became very aggressive when he consumed and hung out with very dangerous people, who beat him to death. Another committed suicide. He hanged himself because he assaulted a woman and the police were looking for him. He went home and took his own life. In both cases marijuana did not kill them directly; it was the consequence of using it that did. The latter did not have the capacity to realize that an offense carries a penalty that you serve and overcome. Obviously, he saw no other way out.
The third mixed marijuana with other drugs and his health deteriorated severely: an overdose killed him. He was a philosophy student, who began to justify his use saying that great philosophers, including classics, had allegedly been addicted to cocaine. He was a victim of his beliefs.
Among the people I have treated, I have lost some, but not necessarily because they died. One of them lost everything but the love for his youngest daughter, but in the end he lost all contact because the girl moved to another province with her mother. The man had become completely demented and had to stop working. That one I did not lose physically; unfortunately he is no longer my patient. His condition requires other levels of treatment, perhaps without hope of complete remission.
The other case was not detected by his direct use of marijuana, but because his wife came to the clinic seeking help because she wanted a divorce and needed guidance for handling the children. It turns out that she had young children and this man had become totally inconsiderate: he ate his children’s food and left them with nothing; he ate the baby food, jelly, cereal, custard, rice pudding, desserts mainly…
When she started telling me the story, I asked her bluntly:” Since when has he been using marijuana?” Surprised, she responded with another question:”And how do you know that? I was right because everything pointed to similar past experiences and fit with part of the clinical picture of marijuana users. I told her that I wanted to see her husband because before she made any decisions regarding divorce, I wanted to talk to him.”
When he came to see me, he showed a clear clinical picture: his delusions took him to believe that he had a direct link with San Lazaro. He announced that he was giving up therapy sessions to go to Rincon [to San Lazaro Church]. However, he came to each therapy appointment. Once, because the truck that was taking him back home took a detour, passed by my clinic and he decided to come in; another day because he had fallen asleep and woke up nearby; another because the buses were diverted … conclusion, he always came. His case was also handled by the rest of the therapy group; they made a sort of interpretation around his delirium: “San Lazaro is sending you a clear message, every time you’re going to see him, He –in one way or another– sends you over here; can’t you see?” From that moment on his presence was systematic, but he was already too deteriorated. I can tell you that the group wisdom is often my best ally.
Eventually he and his wife got divorced because his recovery process was very slow. The woman said: “I leave because I do not want to risk my children; I’ve already lost my husband, I can’t lose my kids.” After that he stopped coming to therapy, committed crimes and has spent a long time in a psychiatric hospital, not in a drug rehabilitation ward, but as a chronic mental patient.
Common denominators in these cases are violence, memory loss, psychosis, delirium and chronic biological or psychic illnesses that are very difficult to manage.
With drugs, sometimes lethal does not necessarily mean physical death. In my view, lethal means the social or psychological death while you still have biological life; the loss of creativity, the turning off of healthy interpersonal relationships, the death of the relationship with yourself. That is the worst part. To associate lethality only with the physical demise may be a mistake, or simply a narrow view. The worst thing that can happen to a human being is to lose the will to live or to stay in a position in which it seems to have motivations, but can do nothing and not even realize what is happening. A person who cannot be critical of themselves or of the surrounding reality, a person who cannot realize that their mind is disabled… that is what is lethal. What can be more lethal than the loss of a person’s talent to marijuana smoke? Sometimes it is unclear which is worse for parents: the “final” death or seeing their offspring die a bit each day. Of course, as long as there is life we keep thinking that something can be done. “
Q: According to your participation in the different international events where the prevention of drug use is discussed, what is the view of the trend toward legalization and decriminalization of marijuana? What impact does this have on Cuba and particularly on your patients?
A: I think behind these trends is drug trafficking. They serve the best interests of those deep-pocket mafias. It is not my paranoia. Organized crime has a great interest in legalizing drugs, because that would be a big advantage for them. Secondly, I believe that many countries suffer from a degree of naiveté and are falling into that position. Although it is very suspicious that powerful groups with such high power and prerogatives are so naive as to not see the dangers and threats that marketing and consumption of the drug generate.
I do not really think they’re oblivious to that reality. But if there is a margin for reasonable doubt there would be no explanation but naiveté. This does not relieve them of responsibility. Other nations are doing so because they have no idea –and do not seek advice from those working with the suffering of the addicts and their families– and are in the position of protecting human “pseudo-rights” because in my view these are so and nothing more.
Once Pope Francis said drugs can´t be fought with drugs. Evil is not fought with evil. And I have the conviction that if drugs are evil –and there’s no doubt about it– how can we fight the evils of drugs by legalizing them? The Pope worked in Argentina with people affected by this evil and has the first hand experience of these sufferings. That is why he thinks this way.
In order to understand the trend toward legalization, it is also necessary to remember the high levels of corruption that are shaking the world today. And it’s not disrespectful to think that many of those who advocate legalizing marijuana benefit from the business.
Moreover, I believe that social projects in many parts of the world have not been sufficiently effective in preventing the use of the substance. In many cases these projects have remained only on paper, with good intentions, or have been very limited to certain areas, without a holistic approach, sometimes in a school or a community, but with no impact on the entire population. Then the effects of preventive programs have been minimal and hopelessness makes them think that legalization is a better wat to avoid the problems. I think there are desperate countries that do not know what to do.
I fail to see a single benefit of legalizing marijuana. There are none. Some say: “It will reduce the prison population”. Yes, less drug traffickers go to prison and legally multiply their deadly business. But it will not reduce the prison population of addicts because they will continue to commit crimes while under the influence of drugs or to get drugs. And those who will not go to prison will remain prisoners of consumption. Violence or rape will not decrease. Lack-of-motivation syndromes will not diminish. All these will increase.
Those who were already addicted illegally will be joined by those who did not consume out of respect for the law. And once states give their blessing it would be like saying: “Well, the drug is no longer a problem; marijuana is not harmful.”Legalization is in itself an incitement. This is going against all logic and scientific truth.
Some hide behind the idea that it is important to remove the ban because it stimulates consumption. Following that logic, it is conceivable that if we legalized rape, violence, the abuse of women, if we legalized everything that is wrong, then there will be less chance that people would do those things that are no longer forbidden. It seems to me a very twisted logic. How come this would work for some things, like drugs, and not for others?
That’s a very poorly told story with very vulnerable reasoning. From my experience I cannot accept it. Seeing the suffering of my patients and their families, and the collateral victims of these processes, makes it very hard to see any positive side to legalization. I dread the idea that my grandchildren could grow up in a country where the drug is legal and easy to obtain.
I still wonder why if it has been proven that marijuana has a negative effect on the state of consciousness and generates a decrease in self-criticism and a distorted perception of the world, it is used with alleged therapeutic purposes, against stress or other conditions. Even more so when there are many medicines or medicinal plants that are in the international glossary with truly curative effects.
In Cuba as elsewhere, the international debate on the legalization of marijuana has a negative impact, because it tends to demobilize. In this battle it is essential to stimulate and strengthen the perception of risk; but when you are reading all the time on the Internet that marijuana is not bad and that more countries legalize it, those who believe in its uncertain benefits multiply. So we must raise our guard and be on the alert.
The most important thing is the protection of human beings and we must protect their sanity. No one should tarnish it with falsehoods and beliefs that would drag them to dire comparisons. It seems apocalyptic to hear voices calling from ignorance or absurd naiveté: “If they legalized it, why not us?” From resignation we could answer to those people: “Yes, let’s do the same; let’s commit suicide”. But that is a twisted and pessimistic view. I firmly believe that the battle can be won and to this end I have devoted my life. I find the idea of legalization repulsive. Marijuana is not an alternative, it is a proven evil.”
responding to that big interview opposing marijuana which appeared in
the Sunday edition of the paper, September 11. While I would not expect
any change in the near future in Cuba´s very tough attitude toward the
use of marijuana, I am impressed by the fact that this kind of discussion
can be had in the Cuban media. The original article, to which these are
responding, follow the letters.
If readers of CubaNews would like to comment on this discussion, the
floor is now open.
Andres – September 12, 2016 5:04:10 CDT
Personally I recognize the experience and expertise of MS María Esther Ortiz Quesada. The results of her research are very important because they use. It is something we should definitely consider.
However, I disagree, respectfully but vehemently, with her conclusions regarding legalization. And I continue to disagree with the approach –ina completely one-dimensional view– that the media in our country give the subject.
In my opinion it deliberately favors a single criterion on the matter, even when it is publicly known that other evidence and other serious studies advocate a different approach.
When this happens you can’t say that we are acting in accordance with the evidence but according to our moral preferences. But the fact is that in so doing we run the risk of stigmatizing lots of people for no good cause, and disregarding scientific evidence.
I think that a very large ideological burden exists in our country on the subject. And I think this is one of the thorniest issues in the debate about marijuana, and, to be clear, not only in Cuba.
On the one hand it is indisputable that, like any psychotropic drug, legal or not, there are risks associated with excessive consumption of marijuana. Denying this is silly and naive. There are physical risks (not physical addiction), and psychological (including psychological addiction), known to scientists like MS Ortiz Quesada who has struggled all her life, and that is a great medical and scientific merit.
All this becomes more important when we recognize that the probability of creating dependency and other psychological disorders increases significantly if consumers are young children, whose cognitive and brain activities are in the process of development. This can certainly lead to long-term disorders.
Every effort (medical, social and legal) intended to prevent use in this vulnerable phase is welcome. However, I am also of the opinion that our debate in Cuba suffers from a strong lack of perspective.
First, it must be recognized that this is a debate where there are serious and high-level divergent viewpoints, which should be subject to public scrutiny. It should take into account the evidence provided by those who think differently. It is the right procedure in a serious scientific debate.
We cannot simply dismiss them as “naive” for having a different opinion. This would be an assessment of moral nature which does not respond to the evidence. It is important to contextualize the debate.
For example, there are recent studies indicating that of all marijuana users, only 9% end up developing some kind of dependency. This is not a figure to be disregarded but, comparatively speaking, does not justify the stigmatization and criminalization of millions of adults for its use.
The most important thing is that this 9% is not only associated with excessive consumption of marijuana, but other factors. Studies show clearly that psycho-social factors function as causal risks for dependency: people with low academic achievement, family relations issues (especially with parents, and rebellion associated with this), parents with a history of alcohol abuse and drugs, etc.
There are enough reasons to create social strategies to combat these issues (of course including prevention), but there is no reason and not enough evidence to blame marijuana directly for all these problems.
For example, research also points to the fact that marijuana use is a condition that is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain disorders such as psychosis. It’s not about promoting marijuana, but simply to put things in perspective.
I know the seriousness of the analysis of MS Ortiz Quesada, but there is also a multitude of researchers who think completely differently, and who have also spent decades seriously studying the issue. There are, to cite just one example of the long list, the publications of Dr David Nutt, a neuro-psycho-pharmacologist and British psychiatrist, a specialist in the study of the effects of drugs, addiction, anxiety, etc.
He is a high-profile personality, known among other things for his conflict with the British government, given the persistence of the latter in creating a classification system of psychotropic substances that had nothing to do with what the evidence reports on its effect.
Alcohol is positioned as less harmful, when all the evidence points to the contrary. It is not surprising that Dr. Nutt is of the view that this is a politically-motivated list and not something scientifically justified.
There are the articles on this research in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, which propose a new classification system based on terms of health risk and its potential for abuse.
Indeed, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, but also alcohol and tobacco are high on the list. It recognizes that marijuana is not harmless, but it is placed in perspective. There is also serious evidence of its medical use, even in the treatment of disorders of psychic nature.
All this has serious implications regarding the debate on its legalization. What do we do with this and much other evidence? Do we ignore them because we do not like them, or do not coincide with our moral preferences?
When MS Ortiz Quesada compares the legalization of marijuana with the legalization of rape she makes, in my opinion, an inexcusable associative fallacy, which de facto criminalizes millions. The evidence on the mental and physical damage associated with rape is indisputable.
You can say the same of cocaine, heroin and crack, but not of marijuana, although we do not like it. Such biased equidistance cannot be established on this issue.
On the other hand, the evidence does not necessarily support the idea that crime will skyrocket with legalization. It is precisely its illegal character that attracts lots of unscrupulous elements to deal with this product. A legal regime associated with strong public regulations, taxes and quality standards will hardly help illegal traffickers.
Remember that it was precisely the outlawing of alcohol in the United States that boosted trafficking and organized crime in cities like Chicago. Figures like Al Capone found their raison d’être in that era. So far, everyone who was taking a sip was breaking the law, and life proved its inconsistency (despite the harmfulness of alcohol).
It is precisely the need to avoid stigmatization and criminalization of millions unnecessarily that stimulates debate on the legalization of marijuana. Trying to present those who favor it as naive (even when supported by serious and systematic evidence) denotes a moral preference, but it is not a sufficient scientific argument.
Jorge – September 12, 2016 8:04:13 CDT
Good morning to all. I do not know if Dr. Ortiz Quesada reads these comments, but I do not want to miss the opportunity to let you know that her program is one of the best of the kind I have ever seen on TV. She prepares it and leads it excellently and more than commend it (I do, too) I want to thank her for such a good job.
3 jpuentes – September 12, 2016 9:04:10 CDT
Maria Esther: the sweetest and most beautiful voice in the entire Cuban television universe.If only I could meet her someday…
jpuentes – September 12 2016 10:01:38 CDT
Andrés: excellent dissertation.However I would like to comment that the issue in question, no matter how you try to avoid it, has a political edge. And it can get out of control and end up being a social phenomenon. Something that was taboo a few years ago and now comes as a scientific revelation it becomes sensitive, putting it in perspective, from the social and cultural angle. This is not to politicize a “scientific revelation” because it already comes politicized, because it has to, I say. All scientific discoveries have a political and social cost and this in particular has a high cost. However it is good to hear different views, but we must put them in context. 5
Carlos Gutierrez – September 12 2016 11:37:52 CDT
I join the praise for Dr. Ortiz, BUT I DO NOT AGREE WITH WHAT SHE SAYS IN THIS ARTICLE. I am convinced that alcohol is much more harmful than marijuana and yet it is a thriving industry.
jpuentes – September 12 2016 13:28:02 CDT
This article is a call for sanity in the media and the scientific community. Coca producers say that Coca is “good”. White chocolate producers say black chocolate is harmful. Now the media are saying that sex in old age is bad, whereas until recently they said it was “important”.
It is said that there are alcoholic drinks that are good for the heart. It is even said that whiskey, gin, vodka and wine are good for hypertension, while rum and brandy are not. What is the difference…?
Some say that Mozart’s music is good for reaching a high IQ, that Cohiba cigars do not cause lung cancer, and so forth. My goodness, to compare alcoholic drinks with marijuana … By the way, now alcoholic beverages are not called like that, they are now “spirits”. In order to sell the media will always find a way.
Lolo – September 12 2016 13:58:28 CDT
Dear Andres, I think that all who agree with the legalization of marijuana receive economic benefits from this, or are consumers of it or have never had a brother, a father or a child who has lost its psycho-social or natural life for this cause and is today a vegetable or a totally despicable person who lost everything in life or is already worm food.
Life is more than being an addict, a prisoner of a toxic product in a world that is not real and that to achieve happiness or pleasure drives us from violent actions to suicide that affect not only the individual but the family and the society around it.
I’ve seen talented young people with a good life that have lost everything to try something new. In Uruguay, the use of marijuana was legalized; however this has brought all kinds or results except for the desired ones to such a point that legalization was suspended indefinitely to analyze again the proposal that has so far been a mistake in practice.
Beware of toxic substances, do not become slaves to an avoidable evil. Imagine your child is one of those within the 9% you say ends up addicted, and this addiction ends their life and it all began with let’s buy some and use it, anyway it’s legal, something new, and not all become addicts and certainly it won’t happen to me, I will control it; that’s like not using condoms because AIDS won’t touch me.
Down with drugs, legal or not, they rob a man’s capability for being rational and they become thirsty beasts craving for something they will never attain or satisfy them. I’m young, I have a baby some months old, and wish my son never would never in a country where drugs are served as food or medicine and are on the same shelf as those.
Andres, I don’t see a single benefit of legalizing drugs, I admire our country for its serious policy on drugs. Look what happens in Mexico or Colombia and see the true face of drugs.
By the way, I’m young, 23 years old, no one forbade me using anything, just that my mother and my family, from an early age, taught me what drugs were, they told me clearly about their effects-benefits and I decided what option was more intelligent and beneficial for me.
Luckily today I do not use any harmful substances and live very happily and enjoy life to the fullest. Look around and you will see how beautiful life is and the thousands of options to enjoy with our friends, family or partner. My greatest support to the doctor and to all those who fight against this demon, Greetings from someone whose eyes are open.
Luis Alberto Balcazar Bravo – September 12 2016 19:44:38 CDT
I came to this article without looking; I was not investigating the subject. I was inquiring about youth and that´s how I got to the newspaper of the Cuban Youth and this substantial article. By the overwhelming spreading today of the idea that marijuana should be legalized and decriminalized I was among those who believed it should be so.
Dr.: You just convinced me with this simple but strong article to move to the other side. A simple glance is enough to understand the truth of how this damn plague is spread by the drug cartels and sponsored by bad politicians is spreading among our young people so they get trapped in that dark pit without exit. At the end of the day, that’s what they [cartels and bad politicians] want: a society convulsed and a youth without reaction. Thank you so much.
9 Andres – September 13, 2016 1:20:55 CDT
Certainly, friend jpuentes, there is a strong ideological charge throughout the debate. And it is therefore important that all the evidence is considered critically.
Lolo: I respect your convictions and invite you to review the existing evidence about the issue. Many of the things you mention are not associated with marijuana, but with cocaine, heroin and other really destructive drugs like alcohol.
You cannot put them all in the same bag as if they were the same, because they are not. It is true that marijuana is not harmless (which has become clear in my comment above), but neither are alcohol and tobacco.And yet, life shows that, despite having an overwhelmingly more lethal impact than marijuana, the use and abuse of these products is much more controlled legally.
My point is we should make a more differentiated analysis of all these issues. On the other hand, the evidence on the medical use of marijuana is there, and it is less known because the official position of many nations is to choose criminalization, and ignore all studies on the subject.Evidence, however, is abundant and has nothing to do with pseudo-science, but with the studies of many prestigious researchers who have dedicated decades of study to the subject, and their results have been registered in high level publications.
There are also studies published in our Cuban Journal of Pharmacology, made by very serious and rigorous researchers. To simply ignore this because we do not like it is like crossing the street with our eyes closed, Lolo.On the other hand, almost all the world’s governments have commissioned studies on the subject, and the results have not always been what they wanted. Many of them, despite maintaining the illegal status of marijuana, have started very calmly to deal with the problem in a more flexible and pragmatic way.
They realize that otherwise they would criminalize a lot of ordinary people for no good reason: people who pay taxes, who fulfill their social duties, who are law-abiding, care for their families, work in the community, etc. This would be most unfortunate socially and politically.Since the beginning of the revolution it was said that Cuba had to necessarily be a country of men and women of science. That does not mean that we must all go to a lab and work with microscopes; it is an invitation to us, as a society, to adopt a rational attitude on any conflict or problem that comes our way. And that principle is one of the things that makes me feel so proud of my country. We are not a herd of fanatics deciding according to a whim, but we read, investigate and make decisions with cool minds, according to the evidence, and without giving up our principles. If the leaders of the Cuban revolution had not acted in that way, they would not have survived; neither they nor the Cuban social project.
My question, Lolo, is the following: Since when did we become a country that acts on a whim? We are not like that. Let’s reason together. The example of Uruguay proves nothing about the impact of marijuana. Of course it will be a complicated law that will have to undergo a lot of corrections and mistakes. There is ideological resistance in many sectors and this brings controversy. But that’s part of normal social debates Lolo, especially when it comes to new or controversial issues such as marijuana. How many initiatives and projects have been put on hold in our country to submit them to better analysis and implementation?
Does this mean that the central purpose of the project is flawed or inconsistent? Not at all. Social and political decisions need debate. The issue needs to be taken to the public, all angles should be analyzed, the source of our perceptions researched, the different ideas assessed (provided that they are based on serious studies), etc.In the case of marijuana, there are other places apart from Uruguay where legalization (or at least decriminalization) works perfectly well. If we ignore this it is our business. Lolo: I have seen lives destroyed by drugs: by hard illegal drugs and also by those legal. I have seen many persons lose their lives to alcohol or smoking.
I think that we have all seen enough to know the devil we are dealing with. It would be absolute nonsense to deny the excellent work of M.S. Ortiz Quesada, because anyone who is in that 9% is going to need people like her (I think that was made clear in the previous comment). Just as with alcoholics and tobacco addicts.In addition, I have a six year-old daughter whom I adore, and I hope to leave her in a better world than the one I found. Believe me: what I say does not come lightly, or unconsciously. Now, this fight must be made based on knowledge and not from ideological fickleness.
In the past, people were burned [at the stake] because others believed they were responsible for poor harvests or epidemics. Burning them never solved anything, despite the determination shown by the inquisitionists.
Putting our moral preferences above the evidence has led us to stigmatize people for the length of their hair, color of their skin, gender, sexual orientation, etc. The world is not on the right track when scientific evidence is ignored, my friend. That’s not the world I want for my daughter; definitely not. What is unequivocally bad must be prohibited and combated. But what is bad cannot only be defined from our ideological preferences.
Andrés – 12 de Septiembre del 2016 5:04:10 CDT
En lo personal reconozco la trayectoria y experiencia de la master María Esther Ortiz Quesada. Los resultados de sus investigaciones son muy importantes, pues no dejan duda sobre los riesgos asociados al consumo de la marihuana. Es algo que definitivamente debemos tomar en cuenta. Sin embargo, discrepo, respetuosa pero profunda y vehementemente, con sus conclusiones respecto a la legalización. Y también continúo discrepando con la lectura, a mi juicio totalmente unidimensional, que los medios en nuestro país le dan al tema. En mi opinión se privilegia deliberadamente una solo criterio sobre el asunto, incluso cuando se conoce públicamente que existen otras evidencias y otros estudios serios defendiendo un criterio distinto. Cuando esto sucede ya no se puede decir que estamos actuando de acuerdo con la evidencia sino de acuerdo a nuestras preferencias morales. Pero el asunto es que cuando actuamos así corremos el riesgo de estigmatizar a montones de gente por ninguna buena causa, y a desdén de la evidencia científica. Opino que en nuestro país existe una carga ideológica muy grande respecto al tema. Y creo que este es uno de los asuntos más peliagudos del debate en torno a la marihuana, y, para ser claros, no solamente dentro de Cuba. Por una parte es indiscutible que, como todo psicotrópico, legal ó no, hay riesgos asociados al consumo excesivo de la marihuana. Negar esto es una tontería y una ingenuidad. Existen riegos físicos (no adicción física) y psicológicos (incluida la adicción psicológica) conocidos, contra los cuales científicos como la master Ortiz Quesada han luchado toda su vida, y ese es un gran mérito, médico y científico. Todo esto adquiere mucho más relevancia cuando reconocemos que la probabilidad de crear dependencia y otros desórdenes psicológicos aumenta notablemente si los consumidores son jóvenes menores de edad, cuyas actividades cognitiva y cerebral están en pleno proceso de desarrollo. Esto puede ciertamente conducir a desórdenes a largo plazo. Todo esfuerzo (médico, social y legal) destinado a prevenir su uso en esta fase vulnerable es bienvenido. Sin embargo, soy también del criterio que nuestro debate en Cuba adolece de una fuerte falta de perspectiva. En primer lugar, se debe reconocer que se trata de un debate, donde existen opiniones serias y divergentes de alto nivel, las cuales deben ser sometidas al escrutinio público. Se debe tomar en cuenta la evidencia aportada por aquellos que piensan distinto. Es lo correcto en un debate científico serio. No podemos sencillamente tratarlos de “ingenuos” por tener otro criterio. Esta es una valoración de orden moral, que no responde a la evidencia. Es importante contextualizar el debate. Por ejemplo, hay estudios muy recientes que señalan que, de todos los consumidores de marihuana, sólo un 9 % termina desarrollando algún tipo de dependencia. Esto no es una cifra a despreciar pero, comparativamente hablando, no justifica la estigmatización, ni criminalización, de millones de personas adultas por su uso. Lo más importante es que este 9 % no está asociado solamente al consumo excesivo de marihuana, sino de otros factores. Los estudios hablan de factores psico-sociales claros que funcionan como factores de riesgo causales de la dependencia: personas con pocos logros académicos, relaciones familiares problemáticas (sobre todo con los padres, y la rebelión asociada a esto), padres con una historia de abuso de alcohol y drogas, etc. Existen motivos suficientes para crear estrategias sociales que combatan estos asuntos (naturalmente incluida la prevención), pero no existen motivos ni evidencia suficientes para culpar a la marihuana directamente de todos estos problemas. Por ejemplo, las investigaciones también hablan del hecho de que el consumo de marihuana no es una condición ni necesaria ni suficiente para explicar desórdenes como la psicosis. No se trata de promover a la marihuana, sino de poner las cosas en perspectiva. Me consta de la seriedad de los análisis de la master Ortiz Quesada, pero es que también existe una multitud de investigadores que piensan totalmente distinto, y los cuales también han dedicado décadas de estudio serio al tema. Ahí están, por sólo citar un ejemplo de la larga lista, las publicaciones del Dr David Nutt, un neuro-psico-farmacólogo y psiquiatra británico, especialista en el estudio de los efectos de las drogas, las adicciones, la ansiedad, etc. Esta es una personalidad de alto perfil, conocida entre otras cosas por sus conflictos con el gobierno británico, dada la persistencia de este último en crear un sistema de clasificación de psicotrópicos que nada tenía que ver con lo que la evidencia reporta de su efecto. El alcohol es colocado como menos dañino, cuando toda la evidencia apunta a todo lo contrario. No es raro que el Dr Nutt sea de la opinión de que se trata de una lista políticamente motivada y no de algo científicamente justificado. Ahí están los artículos de este investigador en la prestigiosa revista médica The Lancet, donde propone un nuevo sistema de clasificación basado en cuanto a su riesgo para la salud y su potencial de abuso. Efectivamente, la cocaina, la heroina, las metaanfetaminas, pero también el alcohol y el tabaco están bien alto en la lista. A la marihuana se le reconoce que no es inocua, pero se le ubica en perspectiva. También hay evidencia seria sobre su uso médico, incluso en el trato de afecciones de orden psíquico. Todo esto tiene implicaciones serias a la hora del debate sobre la legalización. Que hacemos con estas y muchas otras evidencias al respecto? Las ignoramos porque no nos gustan o no coinciden con nuestras preferencias morales? Cuando la master Ortiz Quesada compara la legalización de la marihuana con la legalización de las violaciones está incurriendo, en mi opinión, en una falacia asociativa inexcusable, que de facto criminaliza a millones de personas. La evidencia sobre el daño psíquico y físico asociado a una violación es indiscutible. Se puede decir lo mismo de la cocaína, la heroína y el crack, pero no de la marihuana, aunque no nos guste. No pueden establecerse equidistancias tan tendenciosas en este tema. Por otro lado, la evidencia no necesariamente apoya la idea de que la delincuencia se disparará con la legalización. Es precisamente su carácter no-legal lo que atrae a montones de elementos inescrupulosos a traficar con este producto. Un régimen de legalidad asociado a fuertes regulaciones públicas, pago de impuestos y normas de calidad difícilmente sea una ayuda para los traficantes ilegales. Recordemos que fue precisamente la ilegalización del alcohol en los Estados Unidos la que disparó el tráfico y el crimen organizado en ciudades como Chicago. Figuras como Al Capone encontraron su razón de ser en esta era. De momento, todo el que se tomaba un traguito estaba violando la ley, y la vida demostró su incoherencia (a pesar de lo dañino del alcohol). Es precisamente la necesidad de evitar la estigmatización y criminalización de millones innecesariamente lo que está estimulando el debate sobre la legalización del uso de la marihuana. Tratar de ingenuos a los que lo favorecen (aún cuando se apoyan en evidencias serias y sistemáticas) denota una preferencia moral, pero no es suficiente como argumento científico.
Jorge – 12 de Septiembre del 2016 8:04:13 CDT
Buenos días ante todo. Desconozco si la Dra. Ortiz Quesada leerá estos comentarios, pero no quiero desaprovechar la oportunidad de hacer saber que su programa es uno de los mejores de ese corte que he visto alguna vez en la TV, que para mi lo prepara y conduce excelentemente y más que felicitarla (que también lo hago) quisiera agradecerle por tan buen trabajo.
jpuentes – 12 de Septiembre del 2016 9:04:10 CDT
María Esther, la voz mas dulce y hermosa de todo el universo televisivo cubano. Si algun dia pudiera conocerla….
jpuentes – 12 de Septiembre del 2016 10:01:38 CDT
Excelente disertación de Andrés. No obstante quisiera comentar que este tema en cuestión, por menos que no se quiera, tiene una arista politica. Y que está sujeto a irse de control y acabar siendo un fenomeno social. Algo que hace algunos años era tabú y ahora viene a hacer como una revelación cientifica, viene a ser de cuidado, poniendolo en perspectiva, desde el angulo social y cultural. No se trata de politizar una “revelación cientifica” es que ya viene politizado, porque le toca, digo yo. Todo descubrimiento cientifico tiene un costo politico y social y esta en particular, su costo es de alto nivel. Sin embargo es bueno escuchar opiniones relativas, pero debemos ponerla en contexto.
Carlos Gutiérrez – 12 de Septiembre del 2016 11:37:52 CDT
Me sumo a los elogios a la Doctora Ortiz, PERO NO ESTOY DE ACUERDO CON LO QUE DICE EN ESTE ARTÍCULO. Estoy convencido que el alcohol es mucho más dañino que la marihuana y sin embargo es una industria floreciente.
jpuentes – 12 de Septiembre del 2016 13:28:02 CDT
Este articulo es un llamado a la cordura mediatica y cientifica: Los productores de Coca dicen que la Coca es “buena”. Los productores de chocolate blanco, dicen que el chocolate negro es dañino. Ahora los medios estan diciendo que el sexo en la tercera edad es malo, cuando hasta hace poco se decia que era “importante”. Se dice que hay bebidas aloholicas que son buenas para el corazón. Incluso se dice que el Wishkey, la Ginebra y el Vocka, el vino son buenos para la hipertensión y que el ron y el brandy no lo son. Cual es la diferencia…?. Que la musica de Mozart es buena para lograr un CI alto, que el tabaco Cohiba no te dá cancer de pulmones, en fin…Miren que comparar bebida alcoholicas con mariguana… a proposito: ahora las bebidas alcoholicas no se les llama así. Ahora son “espirituosas”. Vaya que para vender si que nos las arreglamos bien con los medios…
Lolo – 12 de Septiembre del 2016 13:58:28 CDT
Estimado Andres, creo que todos los que estan de acuerdo con la legalizacion de la marihuana o reciben beneficios economicos de esta, o son consumidores de la misma o nunca han tenido un hermano, un padre o un hijo que ha perdido la vida psicosocial o natural por esta causa y es hoy un vegetal o un ser totalmente despreciable que lo perdio todo en la vida o es comida para gusanos, la vida es algo mas que ser un adicto, un preso a un producto toxico que nos presenta un mundo que no es real y que para conseguir la felicidad o el placer nos conduce desde acciones violentas hasta suicidas que no solo afectan al individuo sino a la familia y la sociedad que le rodea, he visto jóvenes talentosos, con una vida buena por vivir que lo han perdido TODO por probar algo nuevo. En Uruguay legalizaron el consumo de la marihuana sin embargo este ha traido todos los efectos menos los deseados al punto de suspender la legalizacion por un tiempo indefinido hasta analizar otra vez la propuesta que hasta ahora ha sido un error en la practica, Cuidense de las sustancias toxica, no sean esclavos de un mal evitable. Se imagina que su hijo sea uno de los que esta dentro del 9% que usted dice terminan en adictos y esta adicción acabe con su vida y todo haya comenzado por un cómprala y consumamos de ella total es legal, algo nuevo y no todos se vuelven adictos y seguro que a mi no me va a tocar y la controlo, eso es como no usar condón, total a mi no me toca el sida. Abajo las drogas, legales o no, estas le quitan al hombre su parte de ser racional y las vuelve bestias sedientas de algo que nunca van a satisfacer o alcanzar. Soy joven, tengo un bebe de meses y nunca desearía que mi hijo viviera en un país donde las drogas se sirvan como alimentos o medicina y estén en el mismo estante que estas, no crees Andres, no veo ni un solo beneficio de legalizarlas, admiro a nuestro país por su seria política respecto a las drogas, mira que pasa en México, Colombia y veras el verdadero rostro de las drogas. Por cierto soy joven, 23 años, nunca nadie me prohibió el consumo de nada, solo que mi madre y mi familia desde muy pequeño me enseñaron que eran las drogas (me hablaron claro) y sus efectos-beneficios y yo decidí que opción era la mas inteligente y beneficiosa para mi, por suerte hoy no consumo ninguna sustancia nociva y vivo muy feliz y disfruto la vida a plenitud, miren a su alrededor y veran lo bella que es la vida y las miles de opciones para disfrutarla con nuestros amigos, familiares o pareja. Mi mayor apoyo a la doctora y a todos los que luchan contra este demonio, Saludos, alguien que abrió los ojos.
Luis Alberto Balcázar Bravo – 12 de Septiembre del 2016 19:44:38 CDT
He llegado a este artículo sin buscarlo, no era lo que investigaba, indagaba sobre la juventud, así llegue al diario de la Juventud Cubana y a este categórico artículo. Por la atosigante propagación que hoy se le da a esto de que la mariguana debe ser legalizada y despenalizada me ubicaba en el montón de que así debía ser. Dra. Acaba de convencerme con su sencillo pero contundente artículo de cruzarme a la otra vereda, y es que, solo hay que mirar con el rabito del ojo como decimos en nuestro país, para darnos cuenta de la realidad de cómo esta maldita plaga propagada por los carteles y apadrinadas por los malos políticos gobernantes las están diseminando por entre nuestros jóvenes, para dejarlos atrapados en ese oscuro hoyo sin salida. Al final del día eso es lo que persiguen, una sociedad convulsionada y una juventud sin reacción. Muchas Gracias.
Andrés – 13 de Septiembre del 2016 1:20:55 CDT
Ciertamente amigo jpuentes, hay una carga ideológica fuerte en todo el debate. Y es por eso importante que toda la evidencia se considere de modo crítico. Lolo: respeto tus convicciones y te invito a que revises la evidencia que existe al respecto. Muchas de las cosas que mencionas no están asociadas a la marihuana, sino a la cocaína, a la heroína y otras drogas realmente destructivas, como el alcohol. No se puede echar a todas en un saco como si fueran lo mismo, pues no lo son. Es cierto que la marihuana no es inocua (lo cual ha quedado claro en mi comentario de arriba), pero tampoco lo son el alcohol y el tabaco. Y sin embargo, la vida prueba que, a pesar de tener un impacto abrumadoramente más letal que la marihuana, el uso y abuso de estos productos está mucho más controlado de forma legal. Se trata sobre todo de hacer un análisis más diferenciado de todos estos asuntos. Por otro lado, la evidencia sobre el uso médico de la marihuana está allí, y si se conoce menos es porque la postura oficial de muchas naciones ha optado por la narrativa de la criminalización, y por ignorar todos los estudios al respecto. La evidencia, sin embargo, es abundantísima y no tiene nada que ver con pseudo-ciencia, sino de numerosos y prestigiosos investigadores que han dedicado décadas de estudio al asunto, y cuyos resultados han sido registrados en publicaciones de alto nivel. También hay estudios publicados en nuestra Revista Cubana de Farmacia, hecha por investigadores muy serios y rigurosos. Ignorar todo esto porque sencillamente no nos gusta es como cruzar la calle con los ojos cerrados Lolo. Por otro lado, casi todos los gobiernos del mundo han comisionado estudios sobre el tema, y los resultados no siempre han sido lo que han deseado. Muchos de ellos, a pesar de mantener el estatus ilegal de la marihuana, han comenzado a lidiar muy tranquilamente con el problema de forma más flexible y pragmática. Se dan cuenta que de lo contrario estarían criminalizando a muchísima gente normal por ninguna buena causa: gente que pagan impuestos, que cumplen sus deberes sociales, que respetan la ley, que cuidan de sus familias, que trabajan en la comunidad, etc. Esto sería muy lamentable desde el punto de vista social y político. Desde el principio de la revolución se dijo que Cuba tenía que ser necesariamente un país de hombres y mujeres de ciencia. Eso no se refiere exclusivamente a que nos vayamos todos a un laboratorio a ver microscopios, sino que además nos invita, como sociedad, a que adoptemos una postura racional ante cualquier conflicto o problemática que se nos presente. Y ese principio es una de las cosas que más orgullo me hace sentir de mi tierra. No somos una manada de fanáticos decidiendo de acuerdo a la bilis, sino que leemos, investigamos y tomamos decisiones con la mente en frío, de acuerdo a la evidencia, y sin claudicar a nuestros principios por ello. Si los líderes de la revolución cubana no hubieran obrado de ese modo, entonces no habrían sobrevivido. Ni ellos ni el proyecto social cubano. Mi pregunta, Lolo, es la siguiente: ¿desde cuando nos convertimos en un país que piensa con la bilis? Nosotros no somos eso. Razonemos. El asunto de Uruguay no prueba nada respecto al impacto de la marihuana. Por supuesto que va a ser una ley complicada que se tendrá que someter a montones de correcciones y entuertos. Existe resistencia ideológica en muchos sectores y esto trae polémica. Pero eso es parte de la normalidad de los debates sociales Lolo, sobretodo cuando se trata de cuestiones nuevas o controvertidas como esta de la marihuana. ¿Cuántas iniciativas y proyectos no han tenido que posponerse en nuestro país para someterlos a mejor análisis e implementación? ¿Significa eso que el objeto central del proyecto es fallido o inconsistente? Para nada. Las decisiones sociales y políticas llevan debate. Hay que llevar este asunto al público, analizar todas sus aristas, investigar el origen de nuestras percepciones, valorar las ideas distintas (siempre que estén basadas en estudios serios), etc. En el caso de la marihuana, hay otros lugares más allá del Uruguay donde su legalización (o al menos su decriminalización) funciona perfectamente. Si queremos ignorarlo es cosa nuestra. Lolo: he visto vidas destruidas por las drogas. Desde las ilegales fuertes hasta las legales. He visto a muchos, muchos, perder su vida por el alcohol, o por el hábito de fumar también. Creo que en el particular todos hemos visto lo suficiente como para saber con el demonio que estamos lidiando. Sería una tontería absoluta negar la excelente labor de la master Ortiz Quesada, pues todo el que esté en ese 9% va a necesitar de gente como ella (creo que eso también quedó claro en el comentario anterior). De la misma forma que ocurre con alcohólicos y fumadores de tabaco. Además, tengo una hija de seis años que adoro, y a la que espero dejar un mundo mejor que el que encontré. Créeme, que lo que digo no viene ligeramente, ni inconscientemente. Ahora, esa lucha debe hacerse desde el conocimiento y no desde la veleidad ideológica. En el pasado quemaron gente porque creían que eran culpables de las malas cosechas o de las epidemias, y eso nunca resolvió nada, a pesar de la determinación mostrada por los inquisidores. Poner nuestras preferencias morales por encima de la evidencia nos ha llevado a estigmatizar a la gente por el largo del pelo, por el color de la piel, por el género, por la inclinación sexual, etc. El mundo no va por buen camino cuando se ignora la evidencia científica amigo. Ese no es el mundo que deseo para mi hija; definitivamente no. Lo que es inequívocamente malo debe ser prohibido y combatido. Pero lo que es malo no puede sólo definirse a partir de nuestras preferencias ideológicas.