Yesterday, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released the results of their 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey. The survey showed some disturbing trends about marijuana use among youth. Marijuana use among teens rose in 2011 for the fourth straight year. Daily marijuana use is now at a 30-year peak level among high school seniors. 36.5 percent of 12th graders reported past year use and 6.6 percent reported daily use. The upward trend in marijuana use corresponds with the downward trend in perception of risk related to marijuana use.
“The increases in youth drug use reflected in the Monitoring the Future Study are disappointing,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Mixed messages about drug legalization, particularly marijuana, may be to blame.”
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana under the guise of medicine and Florida may see a similar measure on the 2012 ballot.
States that have legalized marijuana under the guise of medicine have done so without regard to science or federal law. The THC in marijuana has been isolated and is available in legitimate pharmacies by prescription as FDA approved medications called Marinol or Cesamet. Consumer protection relies on the rigorous research and approval processes set forth by the Food and Drug Administration to establish quantity of dose, frequency and duration of administration and interaction with other medicines. Smoking has never been a safe, acceptable method of administering medicine. Simply put, crude marijuana does not meet the standards of modern medicine
“Marijuana use impairs educational achievement, has been associated with increased risk of psychosis and recent studies have shown that adolescent marijuana use may be responsible for disrupted brain development,” states Jackie Griffin, Executive Director of LiveFree! “The survey illustrates the need for prevention and education efforts that clearly define the true harms of marijuana use.”
According to the 2011 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, 23.3% of 12th graders in Florida reported past 30-day marijuana use, up from 19.7% in 2008. A recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that marijuana is listed as the primary substance of abuse for 31.1% of treatment admissions in Florida and of those, 52.6% were between the ages of 12-17.
If you would like to set up an interview about this issue with a member of the LiveFree! Coalition, please contact 813-503-5658.
The LiveFree! Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition consists of members of the community coming together to address alcohol and other drug use in Pinellas County among young adults and middle and high school students by creating more systematic, environmental strategies and promoting the use of evidence-based prevention programs. LiveFree! encourages community advocacy, involving youth, law enforcement, parents and businesses in coalition activities, and promoting public awareness of substance abuse in Pinellas County. For more information on LiveFree! please visit http://www.pinellascoalition.com