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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Young Teens are Using Alcohol and Marijuana

The California Healthy Kids Survey was released on Monday showing that more young teens are using alcohol and marijuana in Santa Cruz County. More young people believe that alcohol is harmful but that is not deterring them from drinking; teens are smoking more pot believing that it is not harmful, how could it be - it's medicine. The laws in California and fourteen other sates allowing the use of medical marijuana have created an ideology that marijuana is in no way harmful. There is evidence that there are medical benefits to weed, there needs to be a way to produce and distribute the drug without sending out the wrong message to the young and impressionable. "Bill Manov, the director of Alcohol and Drug Services for the county's Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, thinks it's good news that more teens are perceiving alcohol as dangerous because it could lead to a decrease in future drinking habits. And although he said there's a pretty widespread acceptance of marijuana in Santa Cruz, he said he is still alarmed at the upward trend of use among children", reports San Jose Mercury News. Here are the reported statistics:
  • Thirty-six percent of high school freshmen countywide who were surveyed in February say they've been very drunk or sick from alcohol, up from 29 percent in 2005. Sixteen percent of seventh-grade students report binge drinking, up from 10 percent in 2005.

  • More freshmen report thinking that alcohol is harmful or extremely harmful, which is up seven percent from 2005.

  • Twenty-six percent of freshmen who took the survey report having used marijuana in the last 30 days, as opposed to 18 percent in 2005. Half of juniors say they've tried the drug.

  • Cigarette use increased three or four percentage points for high school students since 2007.

  • Six percent more said they think frequent use of cigarettes is harmful.

  • About a third of seventh grade students are overweight or at-risk, though those numbers drop to 29 percent in ninth grade and 23 percent in 11th grade.

  • More than 75 percent of seventh- and ninth-grade students still break a sweat for 20 minutes three times a week.

Fewer teenagers are exercising and more of them are partying. Habits in all different forms are popping up at alarming rates; young people are not as healthy as they were in the past for a number of reasons. About two hours of every young person's day is spent in front of the television. "Idle hands are the devil's workshop", the message is being sent that it is alright to get high and drink. Alcohol and marijuana may be sitting next to each other at the store one day very soon. America needs to tread lightly in figuring out the best way to implement medical marijuana.

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