September 21, 2022
September is National Recovery Month. We believe this is also a perfect month to focus on prevention so our kids won’t have to struggle with recovery from substance abuse and addiction. This edition will help you stay up to date on today’s constantly changing marijuana in order to better support the kids in your life.
Please consider using this information as a starting point for further learning and thoughtful discussions with your family and friends. Please share widely with those that care about kids!
Why it matters:
Our kids are our future. It takes a lot of time, work and resources from teachers, parents, lawmakers, community members and especially our children to grow into healthy adults. We need to remove as many roadblocks as possible to allow for successful outcomes on their journey to adulthood.
What you need to know:
Marijuana is an addictive substance, just like alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Science shows that kids that start using marijuana early are more likely to continue use into adulthood as a developing brain is more susceptible to addiction. Early use of marijuana is twice as likely to result in a marijuana substance use disorder within 2 years of initiation when compared to use of alcohol or tobacco.
Addiction or substance use disorder (SUD) is a desire to use even when harmful physical, psychological or social consequences result. Over time, changes in the brain governing self control make it difficult for the user to control the act of their addiction. The addiction puts the drug first before other things that were previously important in a person’s life. Warning signs include ignoring commitments, abandoning relationships and disregarding risks.
Dependence is the physical need for a substance. Those who use marijuana frequently report withdrawal symptoms when use ceases. Symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, inability to sleep, restlessness and various levels of physical discomfort that can last from a few days to a few weeks.
People of any age, race, sex or economic status can become addicted or dependent on a substance. Risk factors affect the possibility and the length of time it takes for a person to develop an addiction or dependence.
Risk factors include:
- Genetic makeup or family history of addiction
- Mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression
- Stressful home, work or school situations
- Lack of family involvement or supervision
- Peer pressure
- Lack of education about substances
- Ease of access to substances
- Amount and extent of use
- Age of beginning use
The recently released Rise Above CO 2022 report states ”Participants who said they’ve had no poor mental health days recently were significantly less likely to report having recently used marijuana, prescription stimulants, alcohol and vaping products. However, those who reported having six or more poor mental health days a month were significantly more likely to have used marijuana”.
Suicide is a leading cause of death among people who misuse alcohol and drugs (SAMHSA). Marijuana is the # 1 drug in Colorado suicide toxicology for those under 24 years of age. Don’t ignore this risk and seek help from a professional, if concerned with the possibility.