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National Survey Shows Soaring Marijuana Use Among Ages 12 and Older

marijuana useThe National Survey on Drug Use and Health recently released some startling figures on marijuana use – and many experts blame legalization.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Every day 7,000 new people try pot for the first time.
  • In the last decade, the number of daily or near-daily users has doubled.
  • Nearly twice as many 12- to 17-year-olds are using pot as compared to cigarettes on a past-month basis.
  • Among those 18 and over, there has been a significant jump in the percent of marijuana users who are unemployed as compared to 2015.

“Big Marijuana – just like Big Tobacco years ago – continues to glorify marijuana as a cure-all that can do little or no harm,” said Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former White House drug policy adviser, in a statement. “…Rising mental health issues, drugged driving crashes, and an increasingly stoned workforce won’t help us get ahead. We should put the brakes on marijuana legalization and start a national science-based marijuana awareness campaign similar to successful anti-tobacco campaigns.”

A recent report by SAM found ​that states ​with ​legal ​marijuana ​– namely, Colorado, Oregon and Washington – are ​seeing ​an ​increase ​in drugged ​driving crashes ​and youth ​marijuana ​use. “…Legalization is promoting a commercial industry driving heavy pot use among young people. We need a smarter approach that focuses on prevention, awareness, and recovery,” Sabet told SAM.

More Facts About Marijuana Use and Adolescents
Does greater access equal addiction among adolescents? Certainly, this isn’t the first or last survey to explore this question. What we do know, however, is that it is possible to become addicted to pot. In fact, about 1 in 11 people who use marijuana will become addicted. More legalization across the country leads to a decreased perception of harm among our young people and increased use over the long term. What’s more, marijuana is especially dangerous for the developing brain of adolescents. Teens are more likely to become addicted to marijuana than adults are because their brains are more vulnerable. Also, smoking at a young age has been linked to a higher risk of memory problems, school failure and psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia.

Here are some more facts about pot, adapted from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  • Driving. Marijuana is the most common illegal drug involved in auto fatalities; it’s found in the blood (often with alcohol or other drugs) of roughly 14 percent of drivers who die in accidents.
  • Academic success. Marijuana’s negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days and sometimes weeks — especially if you use it often.
  • Mental health. Some people experience an acute psychotic reaction (disturbed perceptions and thoughts, paranoia) or panic attacks while under the influence of marijuana.
  • Physical health. Chronic marijuana use hurts your lungs and heart. Regularly marijuana use can cause daily cough and a greater risk of lung infections like pneumonia. A recent study shows that pot smokers are more than three times likely to die from high blood pressure than non-users.

FRS Has Programs Geared Towards At-Risk Youth
Family Recovery Specialists provides programs for adolescents and young adults that are experimenting or abusing substances but may not have a more serious problem. We also treat young people that show evidence of a true addiction problem. Parents are required to participate in these programs and receive education and coaching on how to parent their children more effectively, discouraging further drug use in their children. Together, we can tailor an individualized plan to help your loved one realize his or her potential and ability to live a happy and drug-free lifestyle. To learn more, call today: 305-595-7378.

Family Recovery Specialists offers adolescent and adult substance abuse counselors, treatment and consulting in Miami.

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*** This program is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families to provide substance abuse services in Miami, FL.

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