Friday, March 18, 2011

Marijuana use rates among WA high school seniors increases, higher than national average

Though the rates of marijuana use among Washington State high school seniors dropped between 2000-2003, it has steadily increased since then.  (Source: 2010 Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Drug Abuse Trends in Washington State, page 41.)

As I posted yesterday about 2010 Healthy Youth Survey results, fewer Washington State students perceive that it is risky to use marijuana.  Research has shown that as perceptions of risk decrease, use increases.

I don't want to suggest that Seattle policy affects the rest of the state, but I do want to point out that I-75, the Seattle initiative that made marijuana the city's lowest law-enforcement priority, was passed in 2003.  Last year, Washington legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Currently, our state is in the midst of a debate about marijuana legalization.  A research-based risk factor for youth substance abuse is community norms favorable to drugs.  As we continue our conversations about marijuana policy, it behooves us to consider what messages our children are getting from them. 

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