Posted by Steps to Recovery on February 27, 2013

Marijuana has always been called a gateway drug. It just starts people down a path of letting their inhibitions go, and when you start using any kind of drug it becomes so much easier to try the next thing on the list. A lot of people think marijuana is harmless, what bad can smoking a little pot do? Well, I can tell you that “smoking a little pot” is exactly what got me started on the path to a 15 year meth addiction.

There were a lot of things that went into building that addiction, and a lot of it had to do with the drug culture I was introduced to through marijuana. The people I became friends with, the things we did, the acceptance I felt from these people, the way we stuck together. Because we didn’t really have anyone else, except each other and the common thread…Drugs, beginning with marijuana. Marijuana use among young people is on the rise, and according to new research, it may be the cause of increased illicit drug use among teens.

A study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that illicit drug use is on the rise among teens, mostly due to increasing marijuana use.

According to the study, released in December of 2012, almost 9 percent of the population over 12 had used or abused an illicit drug–a number that totals about 22.5 million Americans.

Teens in trouble

The age group that has the highest concentration of drug use is older teens and young people in their early twenties, but 14-15-year-olds also have a higher average rate of use than all age groups over 35. Accordingly, drug use in these teens is growing more rapidly than ever before.

The drug most abused is marijuana, while pain killers were ranked number 3 and heroin the fifth most abused drug. The use of some harder street drugs seems to be in decline, with cocaine use dropping from 1 percent in 2006 to 0.5 percent in 2011. Marijuana rose from 5.8 percent use in 2007 to 7 percent in 2011.

The study notes that addiction treatment is sorely lacking in the US, with only 2.3 million people getting treatment out of the 21.6 million people who need it.

How can we support and encourage teens to not use marijuana and other drugs? And how can we get help to more individuals who need treatment but aren’t receiving these services?

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