Speaker at R.I. Conference Says Marijuana Use Among Nation’s Youth is Rising

This article shows a clear link between marijuana legalisation in the USA and use amongst teenagers.


At a time when more states are legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, marijuana use among the nation’s youth is rising, a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction said at a conference Friday.

In a presentation entitled, “Not a Harmless Drug: Prevention and Treatment of Marijuana Addiction,” Kevin P. Hill, an addiction psychiatrist at McLeanHospital in Belmont, Mass., and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, described what he says is a clear correlation between marijuana legalization and its use among teenagers.

Unlike alcohol use, which society generally recognizes can be dangerous, Hill said, “Many [people] feel that marijuana is harmless, despite science that shows otherwise.”

About 16 percent of youths and 9 percent of adults who use marijuana become addicted, Hill said, “but for those people it becomes very addictive.”

In a brief phone interview after the presentation, Hill said his findings are supported by a 2012 national survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health, that showed “continued high use of marijuana” among 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders, combined with a drop in perceptions about its potential harms. Marijuana use among teens has been rising since 2008, the study reported. Hill pointed to a chart with data from the federal government’s 2009-2010 National Survey of Drug Use and Health that showed states with medical marijuana laws tended to have higher-than-average rates of marijuana use among people ages 12 to 17 and 18 to 25.

The chart was prepared by Educating Voices Inc., a nonprofit “founded to proactively support education and communication of the dangers of marijuana and other drugs,” according to its website.

Though more is now known about how addiction hijacks the brain’s frontal lobe, which regulates impulses, Fiori said, long-term effects of drug abuse on adolescents is not as well researched.

Source: www.providencejournal.com 25th Oct. 2013

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