CESAR Study Finds 9 Warning Signs of Early Marijuana Use Among Maryland’s Public School Students

June 28, 2004
Vol. 13, Issue 26

Nine behaviours and attitudes differentiate students who used marijuana before age 15 from those who had not, according to an analysis of data from the 2002 Maryland Adolescent Survey (MAS). Overall, one-fifth of Maryland 12th grade students reported using marijuana before age 15. A scale of 9 warning signs of early marijuana use among 12thgraders was developed from an analysis of the MAS data (see below). The scale also detected early use among 8th and 10th graders. The more warning signs a student had, the more likely he or she was to have used marijuana early . For example, approximately three-fourths of 12th graders with 6 or more warning signs were early marijuana users, compared to 3% of 12th graders with no warning signs. Students with more warning signs also reported using a greater number of other illegal drugs*and experiencing a greater number of serious problems **resulting from drug and alcohol use report, “Warning Signs for Early Marijuana Users Among Maryland’s Public School Students,” discusses the implications of these findings for intervening with youth and implementing prevention programs. Complimentary copies of the report can be ordered by contacting CESAR at cesar@cesar.umd.eduor 301-405-9770.

Cigarette use before age 15
•Alcohol use before age 15
•20 or more unexcused absences
•Drug arrest
•Alcohol arrest
•Smoking marijuana is safe
•Smoking cigarettes is safe
•My parents think it’s okay to smoke marijuana
•My parents think it’s okay to smoke

SOURCE: Maryland Drug Early Warning System (DEWS), CESAR, “Warning Signs for Early Marijuana Users Among Maryland’s Public School Students,” DEWS Investigates, June 2004. For more information, contact Dr. Eric Wish at ewish@cesar.umd.edu.

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