True or false — are people who use a lot of marijuana more likely to have children with autism? Important recent scientific studies suggest that the link between parent pot use and autistic children is much more than urban legend!
As more states legalize, more Americans support the legalization of marijuana, rushing to be at the forefront of social change. Autism is also a hot topic today, as the rates of autism in the United States spiked in recent years. We caution politicians and voters not to leap into legalization without a thorough study of the issue. Do not disregard studies that link parental pot use to autism.
Parents from every part of the country tell us that their teens claim “marijuana is safer than alcohol.” That’s because many teens take messages from social media and fake news.
The Surgeon General and Secretary of Health and Human Services issued a blunt warning today, clarifying why cannabis is not safe. Together with the heads of SAMHSA and NIDA, Dr. Jerome Adams and HHS Secretary Alex Azar spoke at a Press Conference today, detailing the risks of pot.
A new peer-reviewed study about to be published in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that marijuana use at exit from a 3-year case management intervention program for pregnant and parenting women increased significantly after marijuana legalization in Washington state.
“This study adds to the data we have about legalization driving up use and negatively impacting society,” said SAM President Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D. “States should slow down and realize that their actions have real consequences, especially among populations highlighted in this study — parents and children.”
The researchers divided the study sample into two cohorts based on whether participants had completed the program before or after legalization.
Researchers reported the following results:
“Most study participants reported complete abstinence from alcohol and nonprescription drugs at program exit. Among those who were still using substances, women who completed the intervention after marijuana legalization were significantly more likely to report marijuana use at program exit compared with women who completed the intervention before marijuana legalization. Across both cohorts (pre- and post-legalization), we found a positive association of exit marijuana use with alcohol, illegal methadone, other opioids, amphetamines, and cocaine use; even when we controlled for historical period, the association with some of these substances with marijuana use remained evident. Independent of marijuana use, we saw increased use during the post-legalization period of alcohol, illicit methadone, and other opioids.”
The study concluded that “Women who were not abstinent from marijuana at program exit were likely to report use of other substances as well. Our study design demonstrates an association but does not allow us to conclude that marijuana use leads to other substance use among this sample of women with a history of polysubstance use.”
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states.
Dr. Steven Simerville revealed that 7-10% of babies born in his hospital test positive for THC at birth. He’s the head of pediatrics at a hospital in Pueblo, Colorado, where many mothers are using marijuana. THC in breast milk poses a risk to babies’ developing brains. For this reason, one hospital in Colorado no longer recommends breast feeding.
Against all Obstacles, We Must Keep the Mother – Child Bond
Newborn infants need to be with their mothers for their security and well-being. Newborns instantly turn to the mom’s voice and respond to her touch. it’s not possible for fathers or grandparents to sooth in the same way. The bond is crucial to a baby’s mental and emotional development. Furthermore, the World Health Organization recommends breast-feeding for the first two years of life.
Mothers of newborns, regardless of their addictions, should not be forced away from their babies. Even mothers who are in jail should not be separated from their infants and toddlers.
Last week in New Hampshire, Hope on Haven Hill opened for eight mothers struggling to overcome opioid addiction. There are at least two other such group homes in New Hampshire. There’s a need for more places like Haven Hill to support mothers and encourage them to get off of drugs.
National policy should do everything to stop maternal substance abuse in its track and to keep moms with their children. Drugged babies may grow up to have substance abuse issues. They may have difficulties in behavior and learning.
It’s a sad day in the United States when preventable drug overdose deaths kill more than 50,000 people a year. Deaths from misuse of legal and illegal drugs outnumber traffic fatalities, the next biggest cause of accidental deaths.