Why Medical Marijuana Shouldnt Be Prescribed to Uniform Services – Drug Therapy Example

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"Why Medical Marijuana Shouldn’ t Be Prescribed to Uniform Services" is a controversial example of a paper on drug therapy.   Marijuana, also known as cannabis, constitutes an illegal drug from the plant Cannabis Sativa that originates in a number of forms. Marijuana users always smoke it in large, loosely hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes or bongs. Marijuana also exists in herbal form as dried plant material or rarely in a concentrated liquid form called hash oil. The content of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active compound in marijuana, may be relatively six to eight per cent. The use of marijuana remains associated with various side effects and vices such as addiction and engagement in criminal offences by its users.

In this regard, this paper seeks to present an argument against the prescription of medical marijuana to uniform services namely; military, police and firefighters (Gust et al. , 1991). Discussion A case study conducted by Dr Dwight Vick (2010) on James, a buck sergeant at the United States Army stationed in South Korea, aimed at establishing the theory and behaviour of drugs and alcohol. He resigned and later joined the city police and fire department at the Chicago Police Department.

He, however, suffered psychologically following the riots that took place following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Junior. Besides witnessing the White police turning against anyone black American, he also was hit across the back. Owing to his troubles, he resorted to marijuana as his medicine in life. By using marijuana, James became an active person in the society. Following a car accident, he sustained serious injuries. The doctors prescribed morphine drip, which helped him in relieving pain. Consequently, James maintains the highness and excitement associated with the drug on a regular basis.

Therefore, the use of medical marijuana to the military and police should be prohibited, as this would make them not to perform to the required standards in protecting citizens. The agreement between the city of Poughkeepsie in New York and the Poughkeepsie Professional Firefighters Association Local 596, an International Association of Fire Fighters, aimed at ensuring increased efficiency in the fire department of Poughkeepsie city. Article XX of the agreement presents guidelines for drug and alcohol testing policy and procedures that the firefighters should adhere to.

According to schedule B of the agreement, the policy seeks to provide treatment and rehabilitation services and eliminates substance and alcohol abuse for employees who identify and seek support with problems relating to the usage of alcohol and drugs. Violation of the procedure would lead to disciplinary measures in addition to criminal charges against the employee (Afl-Cio, 2009). It prohibits expressly the unauthorized use, sale, possession, or distribution of drugs or alcohol or any bits and pieces associated with the substances. Moreover, firefighters reporting to work under the influence of drugs and or alcohol remain liable for disciplinary action.

The agreement, however, recognizes that the use of prescription drugs may affect the ability of an employee to work safely while at work. Consequently, such uses of medical marijuana remain uncovered by this procedure (Afl-Cio, 2009). Similarly, the labour-management Agreement by and between the Cincinnati city and the Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union Local 48, an International Association of Fire Fighters AFL-CIO, aimed at providing a safe and professional response to medical, fire, explosive and environmental emergencies.

The objective of the agreement was directed towards minimizing the loss of property and life through education, suppression, investigation, rescue, enforcement and other innovative programs. Firefighters, therefore, would be expected to report to work apt and able for duty since they were to ensure the safety of citizens. Appendix E outlines the prohibitions of employees from any aspect relating to drugs and alcohol such as consumption, possession, abuse or failure to adhere to the restrictions. Thus, the disciplinary actions contained in section 8 would be applicable to those found not acting in accordance with the agreement (Fighters and Local, n.d. ). In 2006, Scott undertook an executive analysis of fire services operations in emergency management.

Scott conducted a study of the effectiveness of alcohol and drug abuse and prevention programs in the fire service. During the study, Scott used literature from the internet and the existing programs in the fire service. The outcomes of the project indicated that different approaches to substance and alcohol use prevention exist in the fire service. The outcomes also show evidence that workplace regulation on substance and alcohol use prevention would be indicative of the prohibition to use medical marijuana while at work. Appendix A of Scott's analysis outlines policies relating to substance abuse to all employees of Vancouver city.

The policy guidelines indicate the training, assistance, and types of drugs prohibited. Violation of any element of the policy would yield to disciplinary actions in accordance with the city’ s policies and the collective agreement. Sott recommends that substance abuse programs should test drug levels while considering the level of impairment. The program should be applicable to sensitive situations of public safety (Sott, 2006) Research conducted during the 1988 worldwide survey on drug and alcohol use in the military workplace sought to study drug and alcohol abuse for both military and civilian employees.

The findings showed that alcohol and drug abuse would result in absenteeism, reduced productivity, legal incidents or offences, injury and illness, and family-related problems. Performance becomes impaired due to decrease in visual sensitivity and increased reaction periods. The use of drugs remains a breach to the military policies, which embrace military discipline, high standards of performance and readiness.

In this regard, evidence shows that the military seeks to prevent alcohol and drug misuse, rehabilitate those who need support and eliminate the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. However, it would be worth noting that certain military conditions would promote the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Such conditions include; exposure to high-risk situations, being far from family or home, and work-related stress (Gust et al. , 1991) Health and functional effects From several research studies conducted on marijuana use and abuse, the United States of America reports on marijuana abuse have remained significant.

The use of marijuana would be associated with various health and functional effects. Those using marijuana suffer certain levels of cognitive impairment, changes in blood pressure and heart rate, and respiratory complications such as chronic coughs. Moreover, the use of marijuana relates to the impaired functioning immune system that makes them more susceptible to diseases. Fetal and developmental problems, hang-up of vomiting, appetite stimulation, memory deficits, hallucinations, and lung cancer also constitute health effects of marijuana use (Matsuda et al. , 1990).       Conclusion Medical marijuana should remain solely for prescription within the healthcare system under the strict supervision of medical personnel.

The uniform services have a common objective of protecting citizens from dangerous situations, and this could only be achieved if they remain fit and able to handle work in healthy conditions. The use of medical marijuana, like other drugs and alcohol, bears associative health and functional hazards that would be detrimental to the overall performance and functionality of uniform services at their respective workplaces.      


Afl-Cio, F. I. G. H. T. E. R. S. (2009) City Of Poughkeepsie with Poughkeepsie Professional

Fire Fighters Local 596,26-28. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu.

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