In the US, adolescent marijuana use is at the highest levels since 1992. Canada’s stats look similar. And the marijuana they are smoking is at least 3 to 8 times more potent than the weed of previous decades.
What was happening in 1992 that led to some of the lowest rates of use of this drug over 40 years?
What was the messaging that persuaded kids not to use?
What was the funding for education, prevention and enforcement of marijuana laws?
What has changed?
Something was working then that is not working now . . . and our kids are paying the price. We are trending in the wrong direction with exposures to this drug.
Having pot profiteers waiting in the wings, advertising and glamorizing this drug — without consequence — is a very clear part of this picture.
Is this what we want for the coming generation? In the United States, Mental Health Parity is now the law of the land. Insurance companies will have to cover the treatment costs for drug abuse and addiction when it strikes. We know that one in six adolescents who use today’s marijuana will become addicted. And that risk of addiction goes up to 25-50% among those who smoke marijuana daily.
With marijuana use trending higher, the cost to insurance companies will only escalate. Can we as a nation afford the lost health, productivity and potential in the coming generation if marijuana use is normalized?
Can insurance companies afford to cover the treatment costs to move new addicts caused by early and regular exposure to this drug into recovery?
By law — insurers have the same obligation to cover addiction treatment as they do to cover diabetes treatment. Is allowing marijuana use to continue to trend higher feasible?
It appears we are in for a very expensive ride through the “experiments” with marijuana legalization.
Unfortunately, the health of the coming generation, and the bottom line of health insurance companies, are what is being wagered on for this very risky bet.
Bringing use rates down. Significantly. That will be the measure of policy success.
Canada’s Globe and Mail Report:
Teen tokers risk ominous outlook:
“Policy-makers need to be aware that early use of cannabis is associated with a range of negative outcomes for young adults that affect their health, well being, and also their achievements,” said Edmund Silins, also of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, who presented the findings in a media teleconference.
Silins said any changes to marijuana legislation should be carefully assessed to ensure they will help reduce adolescent cannabis use.”