Pot Use Among Young Growing

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Apr 28, 2003.

  1. By Jason Botchford, Special To The Free Press
    Source: London Free Press

    A massive pot-smoking generational gap between Canada's young people and their parents is widening, a new Sun-Leger poll shows.
    More than one-third of young adults (36 per cent), those aged 18-24, have smoked marijuana in the past year compared to only eight per cent of their parents -- those in the 35-54 age range -- according to the new survey taken April 1-6.

    The percentage of Canadian youth who smoke marijuana -- 58 per cent have tried it by age 24, according to the poll -- has been continually rising since 1993 and is now among the highest in the world.

    "Absolutely, parents should be concerned. What if trying the drug moves on to regular use?" said Diane Buhler, an executive with the Parent Action Group on Drugs.

    "The experimenting begins when the kids are in high school. The kids do tell us marijuana is easily available and consistently used in their peer groups. It's all around them."

    While more than one-third of people 18-24 have recently smoked, only 24 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds have puffed pot in the past year. After age 34, the rate drops off dramatically with only one per cent of seniors older than 65 lighting up last year.

    "I think what you're seeing is a lot of people experimenting with the drug at a young age and then they are done with it," Buhler said. "Be careful not to overreact to experimentation, but parents have to be very aware of use increases."

    A similar poll two years ago showed the same results for the older age groups, but only 30 per cent of young adults aged 18-24 had smoked in the year previous.

    "The response we're getting consistently is, 'It can't be so bad. It's used for medicine. How can you say it's as bad for you as alcohol?' " Buhler said.

    Public awareness and education campaigns dealing with marijuana are almost non-existent.

    "We don't have a Canada drug strategy and the provincial drug strategy is not active," she said.

    The irony, Buhler said, is if the drug laws were relaxed, the federal and provincial governments would have to deal with the issue and spend more on educating youth.

    "That's what we're hoping," Buhler said. "Right now the debate around legalization has taken over completely from the health issues. It would be better if we could find a solution and end that debate."

    Canada's Marijuana Party Leader Marc-Boris St-Maurice said legalization would actually bring more controls to the smoking habits of youths.

    "As with alcohol and cigarettes, teens will still use drugs, including marijuana," St. Maurice said. "But having the state decide the parameters within which a person can properly obtain marijuana is a much more effective safeguard than the current situation where a dealer is not concerned with the age of the buyer, nor their safety."

    Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
    Author: Jason Botchford, Special To The Free Press
    Published: Sunday, April 27, 2003
    Copyright: 2003 The London Free Press
    Contact: letters@lfpress.com
    Website: http://www.fyilondon.com/londonfreepress/

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