Kathy Graham Sullivan, director of the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition, shares the August RAYSAC Radar newsletter:
Teen “Heavy” Marijuana Use Up 80 Percent Since 2008
One in Ten Teens Reports Using Marijuana at Least 20 Times a Month
National survey results released by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation (2011) found that past-month marijuana use, particularly heavy use has increased significantly among U.S. high school students since 2008. The study found that 9 percent of teens (nearly 1.5 million) smoked marijuana heavily (at least 20 times) in the past month.
Concerning trends in teen marijuana use according to the data (2008-2011)
- Past-month use is up 42 percent (up from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2011, which translates to about 4 million teens).
- Past-year use is up 26 percent (up from 31 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2011, which translates to about 6 million teens).
- Lifetime use is up 21 percent (up from 39 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2011, which translates to nearly 8 million teens).
This marks an upward trend in teen marijuana use over the past three years. The last time marijuana use was this widespread among teens was in 1998 when past month use of marijuana was at 27 percent.
Parents and communities need to take a pro-active approach to this serious health problem
A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be an important risk factor, where early use leads to increased vulnerability to problems later in life. Know the facts, and talk to your teens about the dangers.
- Leads to changes in the brain, similar to those caused by alcohol and other drugs
- Leads to lung damage which could be permanent
- Can lead to mental health problems
- Interferes with ability to operate a motor vehicle
- Leads to risky behaviors
- Affects learning and academic achievement
Research consistently shows that teens are 50 percent less likely to use drugs when parents talk to them about the dangers and health risks involved with use. Please talk to your teens….they will listen!