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Marijuana Use by Teens on the Rise

Fred Bodimer, KMOX Halth Editor
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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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St. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) - More teens are smoking pot — both nationally and here at home.

A new survey finds nearly 1 in 10 teens lights up at least 20 or more times a month. Dan Duncan with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse here says parents need to communicate more with their kids and don’t give the impression that marijuana use is no big deal.

“It is a big deal, the more we learn about marijuana, the more we learn about the brian development of youth, the more we understand  that youth using marijuana is not a good thing.”

Duncan says attempts to legalize marijuana or press for its legal use as a medicinal drug also give teens the false message that marijuana is safe to use.

Other findings from the report:

  • One in 10 teens report using prescription painkillers – Vicodin or OxyContin – in the past year, down from a peak of 15 percent in 2009 and 14 percent in 2010.
  • Just over half of Hispanic teens report using an illicit drug, such as Ecstasy or cocaine, in the past year. That compares to 39 percent for Caucasian teens and 42 percent for African American teens.
  • Past-year alcohol use and past-month drinking is holding steady from the 2008 report at 56 percent and 38 percent respectively.

Duncan says attempts to legalize marijuana or press for its legal use as a medicinal drug also give teens the false message that marijuana is safe to use.

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