Marijuana: A Rising Concern in Today’s Classrooms

SPECIAL BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE

National Survey:  More Students Using POT

In the 50s and 60s, student problems were chewing gum, talking in the classroom and smoking in the bathroom. Now, just a few decades later, teachers are barely concerned about a hidden cigarette or stick of gum. Instead, they are now frightened about the concealed gun, joint or illegal drugs.

In fact, marijuana use among middle school students has slowly increased in the past decade while their perception of the dangers associated with smoking pot has decreased, according to a survey conducted by NIDA. The decline in perceived risks is attributed to the overall relaxation to the social opposition of marijuana use and the legalization of the drug in some states.

In addition, the 2013 survey indicated the number of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students who reported using an illegal drug during their lifetime increase by 1.7 percent from 2012. The numbers went from 34.1 to 35.8 in 2013.

As usual, the most frequently useYouth Drug and Alchold illegal drug was marijuana. Almost one-third (32 percent) of the over 42,000 surveyed reported having used the drug during their lifetime. Use of marijuana among the students has risen by 16.7 percent, from 21.5 percent to 25.8 percent, over the past 5 years.

Despite the disturbing data regarding marijuana usage, the survey offered encouraging news regarding adolescent drug abuse. According to the survey, the decade long trend of decreasing usage of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin again fell slightly.

 

More Children Exposed to POT

More children under the age of 5 suffered the adverse effects from being exposed to marijuana in states where it is legal for medical or recreational use, according to a recent study conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This increased exposure was attributed to marijuana infused edible products such as brownies and cookies, which contain high levels of THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The study found that after legalization, the annual rate for increased marijuana exposure is 16 percent among children age 5 and under. This is much higher than the national average annual increased rate of about 10 percent as reported by the National Poison Database System.

More than 18 percent of the young children who were exposed to marijuana (obtain mostly from state-licensed stores) were hospitalized. Their conditions ranged from being in a coma to decreased breathing or seizures, according to the study.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Since then, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have also adopted recreational use marijuana laws. There are currently twenty-tree states plus Washington DC that have medical marijuana programs.

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