Marijuana scare tactics distract from real issue

To the editor:

As I rode my bicycle through Pittsfield recently, I noticed several billboards warning of the dangers of marijuana use. Between the first and second billboard, I passed three discarded hypodermic needles in the street. It is no secret that the opiate epidemic has crippled Berkshire County, and few residents have avoided fallout. Using this ad space for resources for those seeking help with addiction or information about the dangers of opiates would make much more sense.

It is not the 1990s. Scare tactics are unhelpful. The biggest gateway drug to heroin and opiate addiction is prescription opiates. As the benefits of medical marijuana became known, with well-respected physicians advocating for its use, the country's collective thoughts on drug policy continue to shift. The anti-marijuana messages on billboards seem irrelevant when there is such a devastating problem facing our community and our youth.

Danielle Hughes, Pittsfield