Early Marijuana Use Called Pathway to Addiction

A new federal report says that adolescents who are first-time marijuana users are at risk for becoming addicted to harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. While the report indicated a decline from previous years in the number of adolescents who are first-time marijuana users, it also found that marijuana users are at risk for long-term drug addiction. The study found that 62 percent of cocaine users aged 26 or older were first-time marijuana users by the age of 14.

“Marijuana is not a soft drug, said John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The study, which is based on the 1999 and 2000 National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse, found that two million American youth aged 12 or older used marijuana for the first time in 1999, a drop from 2.5 million in 1998.
Source: National Household Survey 1999/2000, Reported by associated Press 2001

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