A study released yesterday shows evidence of something most of us already know: teenagers like smoking weed. However, the study shows that teens apparently like smoking weed significantly more now than they did two years ago. Meanwhile, teens abusing other — government regulated — drugs is on the decline, which has weed advocates declaring the “war on drugs” a failure (again).
The study, the 23rd annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, shows that teen marijuana use is up, with 27-percent of teens (about 1.5 million) admitting to smoking weed in the past month. That’s up from 19-percent in 2008.
In contrast, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, teens who admitted to smoking cigarettes in the past month is on the decline, with 22-percent of teens copping to smoking in the past month. That’s down from 27-percent last year.
The problem, according to the DPA: the prohibitionist approach to
marijuana policy isn’t working, and the “war on drugs” is a failure.
“The continued decline in teen cigarette smoking is great
news – not just because it’s the most deadly drug but also because it
reveals that legal regulation and honest education are more effective
than prohibition and criminalization,” DPA publications manager Jag Davies says. “Although
the U.S. arrests 750,000 people every year for nothing more than
possessing a small amount of marijuana, teens consistently report that
marijuana is easier to obtain than alcohol.”
pointed out in other weed-related posts, nobody in the history of weed
or death has died from a marijuana overdose. The same cannot be said
Anti-drug advocates, obviously, disagree —
claiming the rise in marijuana use isn’t because it’s easy to get, but
because smoking weed’s become more accepted; it’s become “normalized
Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at
Drugfree.org, says parents are the problem — he says they’re not
taking marijuana use as seriously as they should, which is what’s
causing the “normalization” of their kids’ smoking pot.
are talking about cocaine and heroin, things that scare them,” Pasierb
says. “Parents are not talking about prescription drugs and marijuana.
They can’t wink and nod. They need to be stressing the message that this
behavior is unhealthy.”
He goes on to say “heavy use of
marijuana — particularly beginning in adolescence — brings the risk of
serious problems and our data show it is linked to involvement with
alcohol and other drugs as well. Kids who begin using drugs or alcohol
as teenagers are more likely to struggle with substance use disorders
when compared to those who start using after the teenage years.”
Davies — and the majority of the marijuana legalization crowd —
doesn’t advocate allowing teens to smoke weed. He just suggests
regulation will help curb teen marijuana use better than
“It’s time we developed a comprehensive strategy for
dealing with drug abuse in the 21st century by focusing on what works
and what doesn’t. It’s time to step back and ask ourselves what’s the
best way to solve the problem we’re
trying to solve–how to reduce drug abuse and addiction–and use the best
available evidence to guide us,” he says. “And, ultimately, it’s time to bring
marijuana out of the shadows and under the rule of law. The evidence
shows that the most effective way to reduce teen
marijuana use would be to regulate it in a manner similar to alcohol,
with age limits, licensing controls, and other regulatory restrictions.”
See the complete PATS study here.