WASHINGTON - August 4 - NFL star Ricky Williams is the victim of a double standard that punishes private, adult use of marijuana while turning a blind eye to flagrant alcohol abuse, the Marijuana Policy Project announced today.
As the sports world rushes to criticize the former Miami Dolphins star running back for retiring from professional football after testing positive three times for marijuana use, MPP instead points to Williams as the latest in a decades-long list of victims of marijuana prohibition.
"Marijuana is not what is ending Williams' career. Rather, it is marijuana prohibition that has harmed Williams. Our society and the NFL tolerate public alcohol use and even abuse, while absurdly prohibiting the private adult use of marijuana," noted MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia. "Marijuana prohibition destroys lives and careers and does little to reduce abuse, particularly among young people. Sadly, there will be many more Ricky Williamses until Congress takes action to end our nation's war on marijuana users."
Williams is reported to use marijuana to cope with his debilitating social anxiety disorder, one of the causes of his sometimes-erratic behavior. Williams had tried using Paxil to treat his disorder, even acting as the drug's spokesperson for a time, but had to discontinue treatment after experiencing undesirable side effects.
According to the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 40.8 percent of Americans aged 26 and older have used marijuana at least once in their lifetimes.