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Slow killers
by Brandi Conway


May 06, 2004

I read one of the letters about the teenage mother smoking with her infant held close to her with one of those snuggles. I wish I could say I haven't seen something similar to that, but unfortunately I have. The only difference was that it was a young man with the baby strapped to his back where the smoke was blowing directly into the child's face. What made it even worse was that he was also strolling a toddler who was also breathing in smoke. I ask myself over and over again, what in the (beep) are these people thinking. Did this guy not know that his infant son had a steady stream of smoke going into his face? I believe he did, and like so many others just don't care. It's the same with smoking in a car with kids, who cares if you rolled the window down, that just may blow the smoke back to the kids in the back. The point I am trying to make is, why can't a person wait until their child is not around or any child for that matter?

I also read the comments about drinking, and marijuana, are they as bad? Heck yeah they are. Why are they all bad? Because they are slow killers, they damage the body internally so you can not see it. The other bad thing is all indirectly or directly caused the death of an innocent by-stander. I have seen first hand what alcohol does to someone, I have had at least 2 family members die due to alcoholism. The sad thing is even though they knew it was killing them it didn't stop them. Yes I understand it was an addiction, but when do we stop making excuses. I also know first hand how pot totally impairs one's ability to think clearly ( among other things). I have heard friends say that pot was better then drinking or smoking cigarettes? I can not believe people buy that crud. Marijuana is extremely harmful for anyone who smokes it. How or why, some may ask? That is easy to answer 1st) taking any smoke into one's lungs is extremely harmful, but with pot the smokers hold the hit in longer, causing more damage to the lungs. I have also been told that you got a good hit if you feel the burning in your lungs. I say to that, well if you want to damage your lungs long term, go ahead. That burning sensation is your lungs being destroyed. Now tell me again that pot is not harmful. I have also seen first hand that smoking pot can impair or mess up your vision. I have seen how it slows things down around you causing this video game effect. I am totally surprised I wasn't injured or killed in any accidents after riding with friends who had just gotten high.

I think we need better classes or school education on drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex, teen pregnancy, anger management. I mean we need to stop sugar-coating what drugs do. We need to show kids first hand what using drugs does to someone. Show them a real photo of someone who has over-dosed. Let someone come in as a guest speaker who can tell them first hand what being an addict is like.

I will change the subject now to teen pregnancy or teenagers having sex. I think in Ketchikan we have done a pretty good job, but why leave out what having sex too early or having a baby too early can do to a girl's body. I just recently (with in the past two years) found out that sexual intercourse before your body is fully developed can can cause cervical cancer and having a baby before your body is ready just ups the stakes increasing your chances of getting cervical cancer. I believe many women never knew what risk they were taking when engaging in sexual intercourse. I know now and so do many other young women (many) who found out by being told they had dysplasia (abnormal cells) - a step toward cervical cancer. I personally know of at least 3 to 4 women who have or had cervical cancer all under the age of 25 years old. I wonder if teenage girls knew the risk would they at least wait until their bodies were fully developed? I don't think all would but I do believe we would see a huge drop in sexual intercourse in teenage girls. Then again I may be wrong.

Brandi Conway
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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