National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week
Friday, January 25, 2019
Shatter the Myths
How to Address Marijuana After November's Election: Tips from Massachusetts Parents
Dispelling Marijuana Myths
Parents, teachers and those who work with teens often ask us how to respond to misconceptions youth have about marijuana.
Here are some resources from NIDA and our local Eaton County data to help dispel the myths. See also NIDA's open letter to teens about marijuana.
Myth: "Everyone is using marijuana."
Fact: According to the 2018 Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth (MiPHY) data (see chart below), the majority of Eaton County teens had not reported using marijuana in the last 30 days. Less than 30% of Eaton County 11th graders and less than 20% of 9th graders reported using marijuana in the past 30 days.
See MIPHY Table below for the actual percentages of students reporting past 30-day marijuana use during the 2017-2018 school year.
Myth: "Marijuana is natural. It cannot hurt you."
Fact: Not all natural plants are good for you or good for you. Take tobacco for example.
Myth: "People cannot become addicted to marijuana."
Fact: In 2016, around 4 million people ages 12 and older had a marijuana use disorder according to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Myth: "There's no evidence that marijuana is bad for you."
- Adolescent marijuana use is associated with poorer decision making, memory, and attention, and increased impulsivity.
- Youth who use marijuana also show abnormal brain form and function when compared to youth who do not use marijuana.
- Regular youth users of marijuana continue to have different brain responses even after 28 days of abstinence from marijuana.
- See scientific references and read more in our ECSAAG Data in Action Report
Myth: "Vaping verses smoking marijuana makes its use safer."
Fact: You're still inhaling various chemicals when using a vaporizer.
A study of some vaporizer products found the vapor contains toxic chemicals and possibly toxic metal particles from the device itself. To read more, visit, NIDA's Marijuana FAQ page.
Myth: "Marijuana can be used without consequences after November's elections."
- Schools, employers and local municipalities can still deliver consequences for marijuana use.
- At the federal level, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, where Schedule I substances are considered to have a high potential for dependency and no accepted medical use, making distribution of marijuana a federal offense.
- You are still committing a federal crime by possessing, buying, or selling marijuana. The problem is, despite the liberalization of state laws across the country, federal law still treats marijuana as a controlled substance, just like cocaine or heroin. This conflict between state and federal law creates a situation where you can be charged with a federal crime for activities that are allowed by your home state, although federal agencies mostly have been reluctant to do so. Source: https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/federal-marijuana-laws.html
Myth: "Drug convictions involving marijuana cannot affect a student's ability to get federal aid for college."
Fact: Drug convictions can affect one's ability to get federal student aid. Read more at: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/criminal-convictions#drug-convictions
2018 Eaton County MiPHY Data
Why is drugged driving a problem in teens and young adults?
- Teen drivers are less experienced and are more likely than older drivers to underestimate or not recognize dangerous situations.
- They are also more likely to speed and allow less distance between vehicles. When lack of driving experience is combined with drug use, the results can be tragic. Car crashes are the leading cause of death among young people aged 16 to 19 years according to the Centers for Disease Control Injury Center.
- According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health: A 2011 survey of middle and high school students showed that, in the 2 weeks before the survey, 12 percent of high school seniors had driven after using marijuana, compared to around 9 percent who had driven after drinking alcohol.
- A study of college students with access to a car found that 1 in 6 had driven under the influence of a drug other than alcohol at least once in the past year. Marijuana was the most common drug used, followed by cocaine and prescription pain relievers according to research published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal.
- See the video below for new research about the effects of marijuana on driving.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.