The legalization of marijuana continues its march across the US, with twenty states and the District of Columbia so far approving medical use of the drug. As has been amply covered in the media, two states – Washington and Colorado – have even legalized recreational use. What message does this send to American youth and what will the effects of this message be?
“According to a recent survey that’s part of the annual Monitoring the Future report, fewer young people perceive harm in using marijuana,” said Clark Carr, president of Narconon International. Narconon is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing drug abuse and addiction internationally. “It’s no wonder, since so many youth see medical dispensaries in their towns and may even see cannabis being grown. It could be several years before we see the effects of this change in thinking but by that time, we will have many more using this drug, many developing an unhealthy habit.”
According to treatment admissions monitored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 400,000 people are admitted to rehab with a primary addiction to marijuana. Since only about one in ten people who need treatment gets it, this suggests that more than four million Americans may be addicted to this drug.
“When marijuana is abused as a teen, there’s a one in six chance of that person becoming addicted,” said Carr, citing a teen addiction statistic published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “It is essential that our youth know the risks which is why Narconon drug educators around the world are bringing our proven drug prevention curriculum to schools and clubs.”
In 2008, a peer-reviewed science study on the Narconon high school drug education curriculum was published in the Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy journal. The study noted that lectures utilizing the Narconon curriculum resulted not just in positive changes in student attitudes, but reductions in their use of alcohol and other drugs. “At six month follow-up, youths who received the Narconon drug education curriculum,” the study states, “showed reduced drug use compared with controls across all drug categories tested. The strongest effects were seen in all tobacco products and cigarette frequency followed by marijuana. There were also significant reductions measured for alcohol and amphetamines. The program also produced changes in knowledge, attitudes and perception of risk.”
“In these medical marijuana states, it’s critical that youth understand marijuana risks,” added Carr. “Just consider – the Monitoring the Future report notes that thirty-four percent of high school seniors who live in medical marijuana states say that one of the ways they get the drug is through someone else’s medical marijuana prescription.”
Answering the call to protect youth from starting marijuana use is Narconon Redwood Cliffs of Northern California. Full-time staff at this rehab and prevention center reach nearly 30,000 children across the San Francisco Bay Area each year. The eight components of the complete Narconon curriculum teach youth what drugs are, what their lasting effects are, and how pursuing personal goals can help keep one drug-free and happier. After these classes, students fill out surveys, many saying that they have changed their minds and will not now use or will stop using drugs.
In countries as diverse as Colombia, Nepal, Italy, Taiwan, South Africa, and the United States, Narconon drug prevention services have received the thanks and recognition of legislators and other government officials. For more information on the Narconon drug prevention curriculum or the Narconon drug rehabilitation program, call 1-800-775-8750.