Pubdate: Mon, 28 Jan 2013
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2013 Emily Feinstein
Author: Emily Feinstein
Note: Third of 4 LTEs on this subject


Our research shows that addiction is a disease with origins in
adolescence. The younger teens are when they first use marijuana, the
higher their risk of developing addiction. Individuals who say they
first used marijuana before age 15 are 10 times as likely to meet the
criteria for addiction involving marijuana at some point in their
lives as those who say they first used the drug at age 21 or older.
Young marijuana users are also more likely to engage in other
substance use; 97% of high-school students who have tried marijuana
have used another addictive substance.

The time has come to view marijuana and other risky substance use,
especially by adolescents, as a public-health problem, and addiction
as a medical condition. As a nation we want to ensure that our
children grow up healthy and safe. To accomplish this goal, we need to
implement evidence-based measures to prevent and reduce risky
substance use, such as incorporating screening and brief intervention
into routine health-care practice and reducing underage access to
addictive substances like marijuana.

Emily Feinstein

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia

New York
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