Pubdate: Fri, 09 Oct 2015
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Copyright: 2015 Metro Canada
Author: Jeremy Simes
Page: A1


Rehab clinic seeing greater numbers of youth addictions

The growth of marijuana dependency is a troubling issue for Calgary's
youth, according to a director at a local clinic.

"It's alarming to the point that we're treating more marijuana-
dependent youth across North America than (all) other illicit drug( s)
combined," said Dr. Jackie Smith at the Alberta Adolescent Recovery
Centre, adding the majority of her clients are addicted to and
dependent on pot.

Smith's comments come as popular stances on weed continue to change,
with Vancouver selling it through dispensaries and the Liberals
promising to legalize it if elected.

"It's just condoned and way more accessible now," she said, adding
kids who "wake and bake" miss classes and end up highly anxious when
they don't do the drug.

Philippe Lucas, a researcher with the University of Victoria's Centre
for Addictions Research of BC, said dependency isn't as severe as some
make it out to be.

"It's short-lived," said Lucas, the lead author in a Sept. 30 study
that found medicinal weed can be a safe and successful substitute for
other addictions.

"Normally, people are able to give up cannabis on their own, compared
to severe drugs," said Lucas.

Smith said Lucas' comments on dependency are like comparing apples to

"We're talking about youth here; their cognitive abilities aren't as
developed as adults," she said.

Lucas' study - which surveyed 473 medicinal pot users - found that 87
per cent said they substitute pot for alcohol and illegal or
prescription drugs.

"Youth still respond differently than adults," Smith added. "It's a
huge concern."

Smith said one in six young people become dependent on marijuana,
while Lucas said one in nine do.
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