Recently, there have been several stories printed in various media outlets regarding marijuana use trends, especially concerning teenagers. While one study showed that use has slightly declined on a broader scale, other reports have indicated a serious jump in adolescent use in places where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use by adults.
So who should we believe? While survey samples can potentially taint information or estimates, it is certainly possible to have differing results. Something that cannot be changed, though, are the statistics regarding treatment admissions for people abusing or addicted to pot.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report, primary treatment admissions for marijuana have been increasing. The latest statistic showed that they accounted for 17 percent of all treatment admissions, which outnumbered all other illicit substances.
So, while attitude tracking surveys and early use research are definitely important, there are other sources to help verify the scope of the problem as well. Regardless of what someone believes about marijuana, there are real people who need real help to stop using it, just like there are people needing help to quit other substances as well.
For many in the addiction treatment and prevention field, the advent of marijuana legalization in some states is a warning sound for an influx of people needing assistance in the very near future. Hopefully the novelty of it will wear off and the over-promotion of it by zealous supporters will quiet down if they realize they are causing harm to young people who think it’s safe for them to keep getting high.