By Maia Szalavitz
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released its annual “Back to School” survey on Wednesday. Among the findings: teens who use social networking sites like Facebook are five times more likely to use tobacco, nearly three times more likely to use alcohol and nearly twice as likely to smoke marijuana than those who do not.
In a statement accompanying the release of the report, CASA founder Joe Califano writes, “The results are profoundly troubling. This year’s survey reveals how the anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression, suggestive television programming and what-the-hell attitudes put teens at sharply increased risk of substance abuse.
Full story at Time Healthland
By Join Together Staff
The U.S. Justice Department has announced that medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers located in states with medical marijuana laws are not immune from prosecution for violation of federal drug and money-laundering laws. Currently the medical use of marijuana is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia, USA Today reports.
According to the article, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote a policy memo to federal prosecutors that states, “Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law.”
The Justice Department memo follows recent warning letters from the federal government to officials in several states including Washington, California, Colorado, Montana and Rhode Island about medical marijuana laws. The warning letters have prompted several states to start reevaluating their laws. The recent letters from U.S. attorneys indicate that people involved in the growing, dispensing and regulating of medical marijuana have the potential to be prosecuted—even if they are following state laws.
Full story at Drugfree.org
By Rick Nauert, PHD
A new study finds that many college students believe the positive effects of heavy drinking outweigh the negative consequences.
According to study participants, heavy drinking increases courage, eases communication, and has other social benefits that overshadow negative effects of hangovers, fights and regrettable sexual situations.
University of Washington researchers believe the findings offer a new direction for programs targeting binge drinking, which tend to limit their focus to avoiding alcohol’s ill effects rather than considering its rewards.
“This study suggest why some people can experience a lot of bad consequences of drinking but not change their behavior,” said co-author Kevin King, Ph.D.
Full story at PsychCentral
By Christopher Fisher, PhD
Marijuana is the most prevalent illicit drug used by teenagers and adults around the world. Nearly a third of high school students in the United States report smoking it, and most high schoolers say they have access to the drug. To many people, smoking pot is no big deal. They cite reasons such as: “it isn’t dangerous or addictive” and “everybody is doing it.” Denise Walker, co-director of the University of Washington’s Innovative Programs Research Group, disagrees.
“It’s not a risk-free drug,” she said. “Lots of people who use it do so without problems. But there are others who use it regularly – almost daily – and want to stop but aren’t sure how.”
Walker hopes to help these people, many of whom feel stigmatized by their drug use. She is lead author of a paper showing that a brief, voluntary conversation with an adult led to up to a 20 percent decrease in marijuana use for teenagers who frequently used the drug. The paper was published online June 20 in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
Full story at The Behavioral Medicine Report
Analysis of data from two long-term studies of the impact of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on the development of psychiatric disorders in young adults confirms that ADHD alone significantly increases the risk of cigarette smoking and substance abuse in both boys and girls.
“Our study, which is one of the largest set of longitudinal studies of this issue to date, supports the association between ADHD and substance abuse found in several earlier studies and shows that the increased risk cannot be accounted for by co-existing factors such as other psychiatric disorders or family history of substance abuse,” says Timothy Wilens, MD, of the MGH Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, who led the study. “Overall, study participants diagnosed with ADHD had a one and a half times greater risk of developing substance abuse than did control participants.”
Full story at ScienceDaily