Marijuana Update: Legalization Support and Teen Use Trending Up

From board rooms to family rooms, marijuana legalization continues to be a hot topic due largely to rapidly changing attitudes toward marijuana in the United States. According to a new 2015 Gallup Poll, the majority of Americans (58%) say marijuana use should be legal.

Young Americans have always shown the most support of any age group for making marijuana legal, but this number has grown form 20% in 1969 to 71% currently.

marijuana-legalization-support

Marijuana Legalization Support Trending Up: Young Americans have always shown the most support of any age group for making marijuana legal, but this number has grown from 20% in 1969 to 71% currently.

According to a new 2015 Gallup Poll, the majority of Americans (58%) say marijuana use should be legal.

To counter the hype, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers continue to carry out a marijuana awareness effort to educate affiliated professionals, as well as consumers, on why it’s important not to minimize the effects of marijuana use. With marijuana in the headlines nearly every day, it is important to separate the fact from the myths of this extremely popular drug.

Interested in learning how marijuana use impacts brain function and can lead to addiction? Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers recently published a free guide available for download at RecoverGateway.org/MarijuanaFacts.

Teen Use Trending Up

Marijuana use continues to exceed cigarette use among high school seniors. In 2015, 21.3% of high schools seniors used marijuana in the past 30 days compared with 11.4% who smoked cigarettes. In 2015, for the first time, daily cigarette use was lower than daily marijuana use. Moreover, 79.5% of high school seniors say it is easy to get marijuana.

Treatment for Marijuana Use
At Gateway Treatment Centers, we offer customized treatment plans for people who abuse marijuana as well as alcohol and other drugs. Our highly qualified substance abuse specialists provide the counseling and skills people need to help rebuild positive connections, improve relationships and identify the triggers that lead to excessive, extended use of a drug like marijuana.

If you know someone that you think may be struggling with marijuana use, visit RecoverGateway.org to access free information on prevention and treatment options in Swansea, Illinois. For a free, confidential consultation call our 24/7 helpline at 877-505-HOPE (4673). With more than 45 years of experience treating teens and adults, Gateway is here to help.

It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Marijuana

marijuanaIn keeping with National Safety Month this June, Gateway aims to remind everyone of the dangers of marijuana use.

The use of marijuana has become increasingly accepted and is widely considered to be safe. A closer look reveals that may not always be the case. Individuals in the Baby Boom generation are often among those who consider marijuana to be harmless. What they may not realize is, today’s pot packs a mightier punch that their “weed” did. New growing and harvesting techniques produce pot that’s about 275 percent more potent than it was even 10 years ago.

Of further concern, it’s possible that some marijuana is laced with more dangerous substances including cocaine, crack, PCP or even embalming fluid.

Many people don’t realize the use of marijuana is associated with health and developmental risks for both adults and teens. The harm is even greater in young people whose brains are still developing. Its effects may include learning and memory problems as well as IQ loss.

The long-term effects of marijuana use may include impaired learning, memory, perception and judgment. Established users can also develop difficulty speaking, listening effectively, retaining knowledge, problem solving and forming new concepts.

It’s never safe to assume that any mind-altering drug is safe to use. A little education can go a long way toward keeping your body and mind in good shape.

To learn more about the dangers of marijuana use visit RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana.

Red Ribbon Week Reminder: Teen Marijuana Use Opens Door to Addiction

Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States. Prior to 2007, marijuana use was on the decline however, since then, use of marijuana has increased. It was actually the most frequently identified drug seized in the St. Louis metro area in early to mid 2013.

marijuana use, gateway treatment centersThe growing belief that marijuana is a safe drug may be the result of public discussions about medical marijuana and the public debate over the drug’s legal status. Some naively assume marijuana cannot be harmful because it is “natural” but not all natural plants are good for you—take tobacco, for example.

Likewise, young people are less likely to disapprove of regular marijuana use, which indicates warnings regarding the risks associated with teen marijuana use have fallen on teens’ deaf ears. In fact, in the past 10 years the number of high schoolers who think regular marijuana use is risky has dropped dramatically according to 2013 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey. The change in attitudes is reflected by increasing rates of marijuana use among high schoolers. From 2008 to 2013, past-month use of marijuana increased:

  • From 13.8% to 18.0% among 10th graders.
  • From 19.4% to 22.7% among 12th graders.

The naked truth is teens using marijuana expose themselves to changes in brain chemistry, which can result in learning, memory problems and IQ loss. Another valid concern is that, contrary to common belief, marijuana can be addictive. In fact, marijuana addiction results in the withdrawal and craving symptoms that are at the root of addictive disorders. With the legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois this only supports the notion to teens throughout the St. Louis metro east area that smoking pot is not really bad for you.

About 1 in 10 people who try marijuana will become addicted to it. But here’s the kicker: The addiction rate jumps to about 1 in 6 among people who start using marijuana as teenagers, and up to 1 in 2 among daily users!

Oftentimes, even before parents, teens are the first to realize when friends use drugs. In honor of Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 23-30, 2014, I can offer tips for drama-free teen-to-teen interventions:

  • Simply telling a friend you’re concerned about drug and/or alcohol use can be a big help. Let your friend you’re worried their slipping grades and behavioral changes are related to drug abuse
  • Don’t be hurt if your concerns are dismissed as the effects of drug use may prevent your friend from “hearing” you or acting on your concerns.
  • Understand that it is never easy for anyone to admit that they have a drug problem.
  • Assure your friend that he/she is not alone no matter what. People with drug problems may hang out with the wrong crowd—and they don’t want to turn away from these so-called friends for fear of being alone.
  • Listen, encourage, share and support.
  • Read more tips for talking to teens about substance abuse > 
Gateway Treatment Centers Swansea

Article By: Mike Feaman, Program Director, Gateway Swansea

If a friend has been using drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time, it’s important to understand that addiction is a brain disease. Just like you wouldn’t expect someone with cancer to be able to recover without the help of a doctor, the right treatment and support from family and friends—you can’t expect your friends to heal themselves. If the problem appears to be too big for you to handle alone, turn to a school counselor or a responsible adult to get your friend help. I urge you to take this opportunity during Red Ribbon Week to talk to your friends and family about how to prevent substance abuse or get treatment if someone may need help.

 For more resources regarding marijuana use and its effect on brain chemistry, please visit RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana.

 

Marijuana: 1 out of 5 Teens Get into Cars with Stoned Drivers

marijuana-driving, gateway treatment centersA recent study found more high school seniors and college students that drove impaired or with an impaired driver were under the influence of marijuana, not alcohol. But it’s not just dents to your car or points on your license—for some people, drugged driving is how they die.

When you consider that 1 in 3 fatally injury drivers tested positive for drugs in 2009, this means teens who drive stoned put the safety of passengers and other drivers on the road at great risk—just like a driving drunk. The study also found that drugged drivers are more likely to have car accidents and traffic tickets or warnings.

Among high school seniors:

  • 9% drove after drinking alcohol and 12% drove after using marijuana.
  • 15% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol and 20% rode with a driver who used marijuana.

For information on the effects of marijuana or marijuana abuse, visit RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana.

Lake County TV Special: Gateway Presents the Effects of Marijuana Use

One of the best lectures on Marijuana that I have heard in a long time – mainly because it was clear, concise and objective. It used medical and scientific evidence about this drug. It was so good that I thought the citizens of Lake County should listen to at least parts of it!” – Thomas Rudd, Lake County Coroner

Karen Albert, LCSW and Program Director at Gateway’s Treatment Center in Lake Villa, provides easy to understand insights on marijuana use and abuse for residents throughout Lake County and Northern Illinois:effects of marijuana, gateway treatment centers, drug treatment, lake county, lake county tv

  • The impact of marijuana on the brain; how it leads to addiction;
  • Its hindering effect on attention, memory and learning
  • How marijuana use can cause “failure to launch” in our teens

See it Now on YouTube!
Click here to view the segment on marijuana produced by Lake County TV.

For more information on marijuana visit RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana

Marijuana Laws: The Ins and Outs in Illinois (Part 2)

marijuana possessionMARIJUANA LAWS : POSSESSION IS THE CRIME

Remember, when it comes to marijuana or any illicit drug, possession – not ownership – is the crime. “It isn’t mine,” is not a defense. Plus, if someone has marijuana in his or her car and gets pulled over by a police officer who smells it, the officer has probable cause to search the car.

  • Possession of less than 2.5 grams of marijuana is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a jail term of up to 30 days as well as a $1,500 fine.
  • Possession of between 2.5 – 10 grams of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment as well as a $1,500 fine.
  • Possession of paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison, as well as a minimum fine of $750. All paraphernalia is subject to forfeiture.

 MARIJUANA: LAWS VARY BY LOCALE

Depending on where you live and how much you have on you, getting caught with marijuana can either spell big trouble or an expensive fine.  Some towns and cities have local laws that allow police to write tickets instead of making arrests when people are caught in possession of small amounts of cannabis.

In Chicago, for example, possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a more lenient ordinance violation, similar to a traffic ticket. Note, though, if caught with weed in a school zone or park or in public openly smoking marijuana, you’ll still get arrested! Those cited with Chicago ordinance violations will be forced to pay a fine up to $500 depending on the amount of cannabis in possession.

Unfortunately, these local laws are often misunderstood. First of all, an amount that is eligible for a ticket in one place may not be in another. The maximum amounts vary from 2.5g to 30g. In addition, there are many circumstances that can affect the violation, including:

  • Age.
  • The location (airport, school, park).
  • Prior convictions.

To learn more about Illinois marijuana laws, or the effects of marijuana visit RecoverGateway.org/marijuana.

Marijuana Use: High at Work

If marijuana is used in the workplace it can affect the health and safety of the person taking it as well as those around them, as well as have an adverse effect on
productivity. Marijuana is known to have the following effects (Wadsworth EJ et al, 2006):

 – Impared thinking.    – Loss of balance and coordination.
 – Changes in sensory perception.    – Decreased concentration.
 – Impared ability to perform complex tasks.    – Decreased alertness.
 – Decreased reaction time.

Several studies have linked workers’ marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims and job turnover.Short-term memory problems.

REALITY CHECK…IT CAN GET YOU FIRED

While attitudes towards marijuana have generally softened, coming to work stoned can be grounds for termination since Illinois employers may prohibit illegal drug and alcohol use by employees at the workplace. Employers often codify these prohibitions with a drug-free workplace policy. They commonly include these types of provisions:

  • marijuana, marijuana abuse, marijuana use at workThe manufacture, distribution, dispensation, sale, possession or use of alcohol, illegal drugs or controlled substances while on duty or on employer property is prohibited and will subject employees to immediate discharge.
  • Employees who are impaired by or under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or controlled substances, or who have any of the same present in their bodily systems while on duty or on employer property, will be subject to discharge.
  • Each employee must notify the employer of any conviction under a criminal drug statute that the employee receives for a violation occurring while on duty or on employer property within five days of such conviction.
  • Employees may be required to submit to a drug and/or alcohol test as a condition of continued employment. Employees who fail to submit to the required tests and/or test positive for alcohol, illegal drugs or controlled substances will be subject to immediate discharge.

If you or someone you know has tried before to stop using marijuana before but couldn’t quit, Gateway can help get life back on track. To arrange a free, confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

 

 

GATEWAY AWARENESS EFFORT TAKES AIM AT MARIJUANA AMBIGUITIES

marijuana, gateway treatment centersCuriosity about marijuana appears to be at an all-time high. Opinion polls reveal the majority of American adults now support legalization of marijuana. Already the most popular illicit drug among Americans with more than 17 million past-month users, legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use by some states opens the door for millions of new Americans to try pot for the first time.

“Research shows when people use drugs that affect dopamine in the brain, such as opiates, alcohol and marijuana, it can have long-term consequences on the executive function area of the brain, inhibiting one’s ability to plan long-term and delay gratification in service of bigger goals,” explains Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment.

As more and more Americans are lighting up, Gateway Treatment Centers are tempering the hype with a public awareness effort highlighting the real-life repercussions of marijuana use. Gateway’s concerted effort precedes summer—when teens are generally more likely to try marijuana for first time—and it encompasses state-wide county-by-county community outreach, an informative online resource center as well as a continuing education component for professionals.

On Thursday, May 15, 2014, from 12:30-1:30 p.m., behavioral healthcare and nursing professionals can earn 1 CE and learn from Gateway’s addiction experts via an online webinar titled “Altered States: Marijuana, the Brain and Legalization.” The hour-long training followed by question and answer session with the trainers will award each participant who logs on 1 CEU NAADAC for the following Illinois license designations: LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC and Nursing.

Well-versed in the treatment of substance use disorders, Gateway trainers Dr. John Larson and Karen Wolownik Albert, Program Director, Gateway Treatment Center in Lake Villa, will cover all the bases—from marijuana addiction and changes marijuana uses creates in the brain to long-term implications of extended marijuana use, and much more.

More information and resources about health risks related to marijuana use are available at recovergateway.org/marijuana. For teens and adults struggling with substance abuse issues, Gateway Treatment Centers offer specialized alcohol and drug treatment programs that instill the tools and knowledge necessary for individuals to live fulfilling, productive lives without the use alcohol or drugs. To arrange a free, confidential consultation, please call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Marijuana: No Two Highs Are The Same

marijuna effects, gateway treatment centersAn individualized experience, depending upon the user and setting, the effects and categorization of marijuana can vary from a stimulant to a depressant to a hallucinogen. The effects of marijuana can begin within a few minutes after inhaling, and can last 2 to 3 hours after initial intoxication.

Marijuana affects every user differently and those effects can depend on:

  • The person – their mood, personality, size and weight;
  • The amount taken and whether it is mixed with anything else;
  • The environment in which the drug is used.

Many users describe two phases of the marijuana high:

  • Phase 1: Initial stimulation (giddiness and euphoria)
  • Phase 2: Sedation and a pleasant tranquility

Users also report altered perceptions of distance and time along with a heightened sensitivity to sights and sounds. While some users may experience lowered inhibitions, drowsiness, and contentment, others may feel great anxiety and paranoia.

If you or someone you know has tried before to stop using marijuana before but couldn’t quit, Gateway Treatment Centers can help get life back on track. To arrange a free, confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Gateway Treatment Center’s Marijuana Series Continues

marijuana facts, gateway treatment centersHow Marijuana Works

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, has what are called psychoactive chemicals, the main one being ‘tetrahydrocannabinol’ or THC for short. When you smoke marijuana, the THC goes into your lungs and then into your heart, which pumps it into your bloodstream and then takes it directly to your brain. When marijuana is smoked, it only takes a few minutes for the THC to get to the brain, whereas if it is eaten, it would take a little longer because it first has to pass through the digestive system.

Once it’s in your brain, the THC activates what are called ‘receptors,’ and gives you the feeling of being high. In short, marijuana changes the physical and chemical balance in your brain and this is what people refer to as a ‘high.’

7 Reasons to Wise Up About Marijuana

  1. Extended, frequent use of marijuana can result in addiction; when marijuana use stops, a person dependent on marijuana will experience withdrawal and craving symptoms, which are at the root of addictive disorders.
  2. Marijuana is particularly harmful to the still developing brains of young people. It is connected to changes in adolescent brain development resulting in learning, memory problems and IQ loss.
  3.  Marijuana smoke contains 50-70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.
  4.  Marijuana use increases the risk of psychosis.
  5.  Marijuana use may cause bronchitis and lung complications.
  6.  Smoking marijuana can damage the brain of a developing embryo as early as two weeks after conception.
  7.  Marijuana is particularly dangerous for recovering alcoholics and addicts and can lead to relapse into one’s primary addictive substance.

If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse, as well as concerns with mental well-being, Gateway Treatment Centers can help. To arrange a free, confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

 

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