PUERTO CACHICAMO, Colombia-The pandemic closed the only school in this
remote hamlet, long a stronghold for Marxist guerrillas. With no
internet connection for virtual classes, 16-year-old Danna Montilla
told her family she was leaving to find work, but instead authorities
say she joined a narco-trafficking rebel group.
Last month, Colombia's military bombarded the group's jungle camp,
killing Danna, another underage girl and 10 others. Residents here
said her death underscored a grim reality: Armed gangs have found
fresh recruits from an ample pool of youths who, like Danna, have been
out of school because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Teenagers are more likely than young adults to become addicted to
marijuana or prescription drugs within a year after trying them for
the first time, according to a new study by the National Institute on
The new report, published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA
pediatrics, adds to mounting evidence showing adolescents are more
vulnerable to substance use disorders than young adults, increasing
the need for early screening and drug prevention education, health
"We know that young people are more vulnerable to developing substance
use disorders," said Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA director and lead author of
the study analysis. "Though not everybody who uses a drug will develop
addiction, adolescents may develop addiction faster than adults."
Researchers at the NIDA, a part of the National Institutes of Health,
analyzed data from the nationally representative National Surveys on
Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services from 2015 to 2018.
It's disingenuous of Seamus R. Fallon ("Oregon Drug Law Change Can
Help Families," Letters, Nov. 24) to insist that two grams of cocaine
is one-third the amount a drug dealer would typically carry. What is
the source for such a statement? Based on my experience as a
high-school teacher, few of the drug users in their teen years are
"drug dealers." They are constant consumers, many on a daily basis, of
stimulants of any kind. Two grams of cocaine is easily quartered for
four classmates to afford a half-gram each, plenty to get amped up,
behind some brewskis, especially for diminutive teen girls. None of
the group is "a dealer" in the sense Mr. Fallon proffers his straw
man; they are end-users for the dealers.
Oregon's abandonment of its youth to the drug subculture, in looming
years of turmoil and despair, will show in time that: "As the twig is
bent, so is the tree is inclined." Can Oregon not see the forest for
J. Charles Sykes
The U.S. election didn't produce a blue wave or a red wave, but some
are celebrating a green wave as voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey
and South Dakota approved the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Meanwhile, Oregonians decriminalized the possession of small amounts
of harder drugs, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
"Drugs, once thought to be the scourge of a healthy society, are
getting public recognition as a part of American life," the New York
In reality, drugs are very much a scourge, particularly in the lives
of young children. In 2019 parental substance abuse was listed as a
cause for a child's removal to foster care 38% of the time, a share
that has risen steadily in the past decade. Experts suggest this is an
underestimate and the real number may be up to 80%.
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In an effort to discourage drug use and vaping, a Catholic high school in
Ohio has announced plans to begin testing its students for drugs and
nicotine, joining what education professionals are calling a growing trend.
Administrators at Stephen T. Badin High School in Hamilton, Ohio, said in
a letter to parents this week that the drug-testing program, which they
said had been shaped over the course of two years with help from the
Archdiocese of Cincinnati, would go into effect in January.
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Surgeon General Warns Pregnant Women and Teenagers Not to Smoke or
Dr. Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, said they may be unaware of the
health hazards posed by new, professionally grown marijuana crops.
The United States surgeon general on Thursday issued a public warning
that smoking or vaping marijuana is dangerous for pregnant women and
their developing babies.
At a news conference with other top administration health officials,
the surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, said he was concerned that
pregnant women, teenagers and others were unaware of the health
hazards posed by new, professionally grown marijuana crops.
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As dozens of states move toward legalizing marijuana -- for both
medical and recreational purposes -- scientists and parents have asked
what the impact might be on children. Will more teens use pot? Will
doing so cause behavioral problems? Will they develop a substance-use
According to a new study published last month in the journal Addiction:
yes, probably not, and maybe.
The study, led by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University
of Pennsylvania, found that marijuana use among teens does not lead to
conduct problems. In fact, it's the other way around. Adolescents with
conduct problems, like cheating, skipping class, and stealing, are
more likely to gravitate toward marijuana use.
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A school-based survey shows nearly 1 in 11 U.S. students have used
marijuana in electronic cigarettes, heightening health concerns about
the new popularity of vaping among teens.
E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine, but many of the
battery-powered devices can vaporize other substances, including
marijuana. Results published Monday mean 2.1 million middle and high
school students have used them to get high.
Vaping is generally considered less dangerous than smoking, because
burning tobacco or marijuana generates chemicals that are harmful to
lungs. But there is little research on e-cigarettes' long-term
effects, including whether they help smokers quit.
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Chicago police officers pointed their guns at two young children while
executing a search warrant at the wrong address, according to a
lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court.
Gilbert Mendez is suing the city, saying police used excessive force
when officers rammed their way through the front door of his McKinley
Park apartment last November, according to court documents. The
officers had intended to raid the apartment of Mendez's upstairs
neighbor, who was suspected of drug possession. But Mendez, his wife,
Hester, and two children Jack, 5, and Peter, 9, were alarmed when
police officers barged in with guns drawn, the suit says.
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Jeff Greene, the Palm Beach billionaire who this week joined a crowded
slate of Democrats seeking to replace Gov. Rick Scott, shared his
thoughts about marijuana with Truth or Dara during a lengthy interview
that included some chit-chat about Willie Nelson and air pods.
(Spoiler alert: He's a fan of both the musician and the technology).
On medical marijuana, Greene's got the same take as his competitors,
who've all come out in support of allowing patients to smoke their
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A British pharmaceutical company is getting closer to a decision on
whether the U.S government will approve the first prescription drug
derived from the marijuana plant, but parents who for years have used
cannabis to treat severe forms of epilepsy in their children are
feeling more cautious than celebratory.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide by the end
of the month whether to approve GW Pharmaceuticals' Epidiolex. It's a
purified form of cannabidiol -- a component of cannabis that doesn't
get users high -- to treat Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes in
kids. Both forms of epilepsy are rare.
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To deal with an explosion in the number of Kentucky newborns exposed
to dangerous, addictive drugs by their pregnant mothers, lawmakers
this year added a section to House Bill 1, a measure that otherwise
streamlines the foster care system.
The section -- which becomes law in July, along with the rest of HB 1
- -- expands the definition of child abuse in Kentucky to include
neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Babies born with NAS go through withdrawal while they are still in the
hospital. They can experience trembling, excessive high-pitched
crying, seizures, vomiting and diarrhea. Some have more serious
problems, such as heart defects.
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WASHINGTON -- A medicine made from the marijuana plant moved one step
closer to U.S. approval Thursday after federal health advisers
endorsed it for the treatment of severe seizures in children with epilepsy.
If the Food and Drug Administration follows the group's
recommendation, GW Pharmaceuticals' syrup would become the first drug
derived from the cannabis plant to win federal approval in the U.S.
The 13-member FDA panel voted unanimously in favor of the experimental
medication made from a chemical found in cannabis -- one that does not
get users high. The panelists backed the drug based on three studies
showing that it significantly reduced seizures in children with two
rare forms of childhood epilepsy.
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Teens who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to try marijuana in the
future, especially if they start vaping at a younger age, a new study
More than 1 in 4 teenagers who reported e-cigarette use eventually
progressed to smoking pot, according to the survey of more than 10,000
That compared with just 8 percent of non-vapers, said lead researcher
Hongying Dai, senior biostatistician with Children's Mercy Hospital in
Kansas City, Mo.
Further, teens who started vaping early had a greater risk of
subsequent marijuana use.
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Some remain skeptical the proposed Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) will
achieve one of its primary objectives: protecting youth from
cannabis-related harms. Some feel the minimum age should be higher
than the minimum age for alcohol, worried that those under 25 seem
more vulnerable to dependence and health problems linked to long-term,
Critics of the proposed minimum age may be overlooking another primary
objective: displacing the black-market. Young adults aged 18 to 24
represent one third of the market. The act attempts to strike a
balance between keeping marijuana away from minors and cash away from
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Doctors who treat youth have serious concerns about the legalization
With universities and schools providing few details around strategies
for marijuana legalization, doctors who treat youth have serious
concerns about the inevitable increase in use and the impending
impacts of what can be a dangerous drug.
Dr. Chris Wilkes, Alberta Health Services head of child and adolescent
psychiatry, said educators "need to ramp it up" in terms of creating
environments to ensure safety and informing youths about the health
effects of marijuana.
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Canada is moving closer to the legalization of recreational Cannabis
this summer. Federal legislation is awaiting Senate approval and all
the provinces have developed their implementation approach.
Governments across the country rarely agree on anything. But as we
embark on this change, they have been unanimous in agreeing that their
top policy objective is the protection of youth.
We know what the approaches and commitments have been from various
governments, so we are in a good position to know whether their
actions reflect their words. So far, the simple answer is no.
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Brighton - People consume marijuana because it relaxes them but the
prospect of its recreational use becoming legal is making police anxious.
"Anticipated issues" include "easier access for the youth population,"
impaired operation of vehicles, and the "facilitation of trafficking,"
OPP Detective-Sergeant Rick Dupuis said in a presentation to Brighton
council on the implications of the federal law that is to take effect
sometime after July 1.
"The provincial and federal governments indicate that this act was
introduced to minimize or mitigate accessibility to our young
population but in my professional opinion I believe that is ...
counterintuitive," he told council Feb. 20. "It's going to make it
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Medical marijuana added to health-insurance plan
Medical marijuana will soon be part of health insurance for students
at UBC Okanagan.
The one-year pilot program will begin in September. University of
Waterloo began a similar plan in 2014.
The idea was initiated by Michelle Thiessen, chairwoman of the
Okanagan chapter of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and a
UBCO graduate student.
Without coverage for medical marijuana, students are left covering 100
per cent of the costs while still paying into the student health
insurance plan, she said.
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Following the death of her son Conner in 2013, Yvonne Clark has been
sharing her story with students and parents across the region.
In presentations to young people ranging from Grade 6 to Grade 12,
Clark talks about her family's experience, about the dangers of
fentanyl, and about the growing number of Albertans who have died of
What she hopes to include soon as part of that presentation is a
series of images that will put a face to the fentanyl statistics.
Clark is appealing to other Albertans who have lost a loved one to an
opioid overdose to send her a photo of the victim, with the aim of
educating young people across the province about the crisis.
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