Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Drug Rehab - Gateway to the Emergency Room

More than 94 million Americans (40% of the population) age 12 and older have tried marijuana at least once, according to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. While there was a temporary drop in marijuana use reported between 2001 and 2004, there is still a large concern about this drug. Per a recent report from the Drug Abuse Warning System, marijuana was a contributing factor in over 119,000 emergency room visits reported less than two years ago. About 15% of those patients in the emergency room were between ages 12 and 17. About 2/3 of them were male.

What we see now is a leveling off of marijuana use, with spikes of use among school children, particularly 12 graders. This of course leads to other societal problems, such as an increase in drug arrests. On average, 57% of male and 32% of female arrestees tested positive for marijuana. And it is known that marijuana use is associated with and leads to taking other drugs. If you take into account that today's marijuana is 10 times more potent than it was 30 years ago, you can see that we are facing a serious problem.We have all heard that marijuana is a gateway drug. There is some truth to that. However, what we must be acutely aware of is that, as a society, we are suffering from an underlying problem, which precedes marijuana use.

Until that more-basic problem is addressed and handled, we are not likely to win the war on drugs. WHY are kids turning to drugs at alarming numbers? The answer is: lack of proper and effective education on this subject! That is the underlying problem. It's not because teachers don't want to help their students! They simply lack reliable educational materials that effectively convey the truth about drugs to their students. And so the drug problem keeps escalating.

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