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Marijuana....It's Not Your Daddy's Weed

Important thoughts and facts regarding teen marijuana use from our local pediatrician!

This is the second in a series of three articles on drug abuse by Dr Brottman.

Dr. B serves as the physician liaison for the Link Together Coalition. You can check out his other articles by clicking here.

Just a few thoughts about Marijuana...DID you know that the concentration of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) is 17 times stronger than in the 1970's? DID you know, that tobacco use is now considered the gateway to drug abuse? Marijuana is the number one drug used and abused in the United States and it is addictive! Did you know that synthetic marijuana is an incense product containing herbal plant matter mixed with synthetic canaboids and is usually smoked? In 2012 - Cook County, non-Chicago 12% of 8th graders, 28% of 10th graders and 41% of 12th graders used marijuana in the last year...those rates were only slightly less at our local Buffalo Grove High School and Wheeling High School. Scared yet? I am. Marijuana use among adolescents is on the rise after a decade of decline. Part of this increase appears to be because adolescents don’t accurately perceive the risks associated with marijuana use. This may be because of conflicting messages—they hear and read about drug legalization, decriminalization, and the use of medical marijuana. As with other substances, young people tend to form opinions based on what their parents think and do. For example, recent studies and surveys revealed that marijuana use was much less prevalent among youths who perceived strong parental disapproval for trying marijuana or hashish once or twice. But, compare this to teens who have a parent that has used marijuana, these kids are two-and-a-half times as likely to have also used it. It seems that marijuana is easy to obtain. In a 2010 national survey, 58 percent of teens who said they can get marijuana do so by calling a cell phone or by sending a text message; 57 percent said they simply ask for it face to face; and 14 percent said they use social media. Ask your child.  I asked my High School senior how hard would it be for him to obtain drugs at his high school? His response shocked me. "It would be easy." The magnitude of marijuana use can't be underestimated. There were approximately 1.1 million drug-related treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities in 2009 (the latest year for which data are available). Of those, 31 percent reported marijuana as their primary drug of choice. You do the math! By the way...in ILLINOIS, possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal. Bottom line: marijuana is a drug, it is addictive, it is 17x times stronger than it was in the 1970's, and it is illegal.

    Ref: Growing Up Drug Free, A Parents Guide to Prevention
            US Dept. of Justice, DEA, US Dept. of Education
            Oct 2012

 Link Together – Supporting Drug and Alcohol Free Youth

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brian Wright February 28, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Great article. Thanks for providing such valuable information for parents.

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