June is Marijuana Abuse Awareness Month. It is a good time to consider the risks associated with marijuana use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.
Marijuana use has been linked to mental health problems, including paranoia, depression and anxiety. Using marijuana can cause physical health problems. It can result in decreased academic and athletic success. Use also increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes. Marijuana has short and long term effects on the brain. This may disrupt brain development, slow memory and affect learning throughout life.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, many students in Vermont do not think Marijuana is harmful to their health. Research has shown marijuana is addictive. Adolescents are 3x’s more likely than adults to become dependent.
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is a survey tool distributed to students. It asks students about their health behaviors and beliefs. Results inform prevention efforts. The 2015 YRBS survey found:
21% of Rutland County students grades 9-12 reported using marijuana in the past 30 days
By 12th grade, 48% of students have tried marijuana
Among Rutland County students using marijuana in the past 30 days, 35% reported frequent use (20+ times)
61% of Rutland County students grades 9-12 reported believing that it is easy to get marijuana
Education and prevention are important. Regional Prevention Partnerships (RPP) supports prevention across the state. These partnerships aim to reduce substance misuse among young people. In Rutland County, RPP is led by Partners for Prevention community network.
For more information on marijuana prevention visit: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/marijuana/preventing.html
Partners for Prevention is a community network dedicated to sustainable substance abuse prevention efforts for Rutland County youth and young adults. Stay connected by liking the Partners for Prevention on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/partnersforprevention