Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jan 2013
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Copyright: 2013 Lee Enterprises
Author: Isabelle Dills


Studies Say Marijuana Can Decrease Your IQ

A local grassroots organization hopes to educate teens about the
negative impacts of marijuana use.

The Catalyst Coalition, a program of the Napa County Office of
Education, is launching a campaign titled, "Be Ahead of the Crowd,"
based on recent research conducted by Duke University.

The study followed more than 1,000 participants over decades,
measuring their marijuana use and IQs. The results showed an
association between regular marijuana use that began in adolescence
and a drop of eight IQ points by the mid-30s, even if participants had
stopped using the drug.

According to the Catalyst Coalition's website, a loss of eight IQ
points can reduce a person of average intelligence into the lowest
third of the intelligence range.

A similar study at Harvard Medical School found that because the
brains of teens aren't fully developed, early and frequent marijuana
use can lead to permanently decreased IQs as well as decreased
attention spans.

"We want teens and parents to know the facts," said Jennifer Stewart,
head of Prevention Services for the Napa County Office of Education.

According to the 2011 California Healthy Kids Survey, between 31
percent and 47 percent of seventh-grade students in Napa County public
schools said they believe that marijuana causes little or no harm if a
person smokes it once or twice a week, Stewart said.

The campaign will include a public service announcement that will be
screened at the Napa movie theater, as well as information that goes
home through middle and high schools about the damage marijuana does.

Proclamations also will be signed by county health and education
leaders declaring that marijuana is harmful for adolescents and
encouraging all citizens to work to keep youth from accessing and
using marijuana.

Dr. Karen Smith, Napa County public health officer, and the Advisory
Board on Alcohol and Drug Services are among the first to have signed
the proclamations.

The Catalyst Coalition plans to collect signatures between now and
May, and then present it to the Board of Supervisors in recognition of
Mental Health Month. 
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