Reducing Future Rates of Adult Addiction Must Begin with Youth Prevention
The United States is confronting a public health crisis of rising adult drug addiction, most visibly documented by an unprecedented number of opioid overdose deaths.1 Most of these overdose deaths are not from the use of a single substance – opioids – but rather are underreported polysubstance deaths.2This is happening in the context of a swelling national interest in legalizing marijuana use for recreational and/or medical use.As these two epic drug policy developments roil the nation, there is an opportunity to embrace a powerful initiative.Ninety percent of all adult substance use disorders trace back to origins in adolescence.3 4New prevention efforts are needed that inform young people, the age group most at-risk for the onset of substance use problems, of the dangerous minefield of substance use that could have a profound negative impact on their future plans and dreams.
Today SAM issued a statement refuting the notion that states with medical marijuana have fewer opiate deaths. We have noticed that marijuana is an adjunct to opiate dependence and abuse, not a replacement. Here is what the SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) statement said:
In a speech on January 26, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: “In recent years, there was an erosion of support for anti-drug law enforcement – in Congress, in state legislatures, and even among some of the general public. One law enforcement professional told me he felt disappointed that government officials didn’t seem to understand the importance of his work. Resources were redirected.
“What has been the result? We saw drug purity and availability go up and drug prices go down. We saw addiction and death spread like never before.”Continue reading →