Tag Archives: CADCA

NIDA Report Shows Use of Marijuana High, Feeding Future Drug Addiction

National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported today that drug abuse among teens is trending downward, except for marijuana.   The University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future Survey was completed for 2016.  It showed that six percent of high school seniors across the country are daily marijuana users.

Many of these young, habitual tokers, are potential addicts–if not yet addicted.  They may stick to marijuana which is extremely potent today–5x more potent than it was in 70s.  Or they may go onto other drugs, or slide into alcoholism as they turn the legal age to buy booze.  The six percent of seniors who are daily pot users is triple the rate of daily drinkers in 12th grade.  That figure is very troubling, and it is the same high rate from the previous year.

Teen abuse of other substances, including opioids and heroin, is down. However, adult substance abuse continues to rise astronomically.   The Centers for Disease Control released new statistics last week:  52,404 drug-related deaths in 2015, an 11% rise.  By comparison, 37,757 died in car crashes, an increase of 12%. Gun deaths, including homicides and suicides, totaled 36,252, a jump of 7%.     In 2014, there were 47,055 drug overdose deaths.  The rate of increase has risen rapidly in the last decade.

There’s the concern that these daily marijuana users will go onto other drugs, drugs that lead to overdose and are potentially lethal.    States with high rates of teen marijuana use in 2011 and 2012 ended up having the highest rates of opioid pill abuse two years later.  Here’s five reasons marijuana is a gateway drug.

Pain Pills, Cough Syrup and Other Drugs

The use of synthetic cannabinoids and ecstasy is lower, but still too high.  High school students are  using much fewer opioid pain pills.  Among 12th graders there’s been a 45 percent drop over the past five years. Only 2.9 percent of high school seniors reported past year misuse of the pain reliever Vicodin in 2016, compared to nearly 10 percent a decade ago.  The Drug Free American Foundation, CADCA and the pharmacies regularly sponsor “Take Back Your Drugs” days.  At these times, pain relievers from other family members are tossed out, with the hopes of preventing illicit use.

Fewer eighth graders are using marijuana, which is encouraging.   Parents Opposed to Pot believes it’s because new parent and community drug education efforts – since legalization — are discouraging early pot use.

One troubling note is that eighth graders had an increase in misuse of over-the-counter cough medicine.  This year, 2.6 percent of them have abused it, up from 1.6 percent in 2015.

Tobacco use and drinking are trending downward, but use of e-cigarettes has gone up.   Here’s the statistics.

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The Real Reason Pot is Illegal is Not Simple

Some supporters of legalized marijuana say the opposition has a financial incentive.   Should we assume those who support marijuana legalization are only inspired by the idea of making money from it?  “Where Commerce Meets Revolution” was the title of the Cannabis Industry Association’s meeting in Denver June 24-25.

Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, blames drug laws for the incarceration of too many black men.  However, now she is blaming the middle-aged white men who stand to make all the money off of marijuana legalization.  (George Soros’ Open Society Foundations funded Alexander’s book. )   The marijuana industry which started as a hippie, outsider, counterculture idea is now a dream of the gray-suited businessmen.

On Sunday, July 6 The Nation printed an article entitled “The Real Reason Pot is Still Illegal,” which suggested that the national prevention and treatment groups want marijuana illegal simply because they are taking corporate donations and entering into partnerships with pharmaceutical companies.  (Soros’ Open Society Foundation also funds The Nation in part.  Since Soros believes in marijuana legalization, one wonders if groups who take his money are expected to advocate for his views.)

It is amazing that a journalist would analyze a story from only one perspective and not realize that all issues are multi-dimensional.   Previously, the same author, Lee Fang, had written an article about the money given to oppose marijuana legalization in Colorado, suggesting that most of it had come from a donor who was involved with a rehabilitation group which was operating more than 20 years ago.   The New York Times or Washington Post would not use 20-year old stories to discuss current issues.

CADCA Responds

The chairman of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA )sent a letter to its members to address the slanderous article.  In his words:

“The author compares prescription drugs, particularly opioid pain medications, and marijuana, suggesting that pharmaceutical companies are supporting our work because the medicalization of pot represents a threat to their bottom line. The author also suggests that CADCA is not doing enough to battle opioid abuse, because we receive some funding from pharmaceutical companies. In fact, just the opposite is the case – our funding from the industry allows us to help offset the costs of our two major training events and to develop a number of products and initiatives designed to prevent and reduce medicine abuse. In total, support from the over-the-counter and pharmaceutical medicine industries combined is less than 7 percent of CADCA’s revenue. CADCA believes that the industry has a responsibility to help address and mitigate the complex issues surrounding our nation’s tragic prescription drug abuse crisis.

However, CADCA’s positions are not influenced by any outside organization. CADCA takes its direction from our Board of Directors, our Coalition Advisory Committee, and our membership base. Each group has asked CADCA to provide community leaders with tools to address both medicine abuse and marijuana.

We believe prescription drug abuse is a major epidemic, a point for which we have been sounding the alarm since 2001. More than a decade ago, CADCA published its first prescription drug abuse prevention toolkit to help community leaders address this problem. Every October, we ask our coalitions and partners to join us in a solutions-oriented national dialogue about OTC and Rx drug abuse through National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.

In the Nation article, the reporter makes a bizarre leap, attempting to connect resources received from pharmaceutical companies to our efforts to reduce youth marijuana use. CADCA believes that the U.S. “experiment” with medical and retail marijuana is a grave concern, particularly in that these efforts will increase youth marijuana use, which is damaging to the adolescent brain. The fact is CADCA receives no outside funding to do our marijuana-related policy work.

The reporter conveniently failed to mention the extensive prescription drug abuse training CADCA provides or the significant policy work we do. Omitted from the article is mention of the times CADCA has testified at Congressional hearings about ways to comprehensively prevent prescription drug diversion, abuse and addiction, as well as the various instances CADCA has supported legislation aimed at reducing medicine abuse.

The title of this article alone tells you where the real agenda lies. Sadly, we know many of you have faced the same kind of attacks at the local level. We stand by our positions and our prevention work on both fronts. In this instance, we take this article as a badge of honor that what we are doing is right and is having an impact.”

Poppot’s Position

Since an epidemic of prescription pain pill abuse in the 21st century came from over-prescribing these medications, it is correct to address the problem and work on prevention.  CADCA, which works in communities, provides many ways to address the abuse of opioid pills.  We applaud the pharmaceutical industry for addressing pain-pill abuse, a problem that is an outgrowth of their business.  We don’t deny they want to make money, too.  We believe they have been more responsible than the marijuana industry.

Parents Opposed to Pot warns against becoming a culture of pain, and a culture of escapism, which can be caused by both marijuana and too many pain pills.

Parents Opposed to Pot believes that a legalized marijuana industry would prey on the most vulnerable–children, teens and minorities –while adding to the problem of addiction today.

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Pot Industry Uses Deceptive Ads Without Protecting Kids

The medical marijuana industry doesn’t assure that expansion into more states will not include marketing marijuana products to children.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment,  which passed in the House of Representatives last week, may be considered in the Senate.  The provision takes away the Department of Justice’s ability to prosecute medical marijuana distributors who endanger others.  If a similar amendment passes in the Senate, it could cripple the government’s ability to investigate in states with thriving medical marijuana industries.

Abuses by the medical pot industry have been rampant, particularly in western states.  Potent edibles come without warnings; businesses have located close to schools and day care centers, and pot has been diverted to other states.

The use of seductive names has promoted the allure of pot – making it a symbol of wellness, rather than coming with the typical warnings needed for tobacco, alcohol, other drugs and pharmaceuticals.

Furthermore, the marijuana industry and their public relations campaign have misled voters by suggesting that CBD, one treatment for children with epilepsy, is the same as the medical marijuana used for stimulating appetite in cancer or AIDs patients, or for generalized pain.
Let’s cast a healthy doubt on any products whose promoters believe it to be a “wonder drug” or “elixir of the gods.”   Medical marijuana has expanded exponentially since 2009.  It’s available in 22 states, up from 13 states at the end of 2009.   A current medical publication summarized the problems coming with rapid medical marijuana expansion.

Pharmaceutical products require rigorous testing and similar standards have not been in place for the marijuana drug industry.  Most people only want medical marijuana available in pharmacies rather than through upstart ganja-preneurs, or the tobacco industry, according to surveys.

Pressure from an industry group, Americans for Safe Access, has resulted in a deceptive campaign which suggests that innocent citizens go to jail and that opposition to medi-pot industry’s expansion represents a lack of compassion.

The Television Ads

The well-funded lobby effort, “Vote Medical Marijuana,” is running 30-second TV spots on MSNBC in Maryland and South Florida, the homes of two of the members who voted “no” to the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment— Republican Andy Harris and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Over the past two years, the marijuana lobby has consistently threatened politicians who don’t vote with them.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz, who represents Miami, Florida, is keenly aware of the determination of the illegal drug traders in that region.  A 30-second ad against her alleges that Wasserman Schultz wants medical marijuana users to go to federal prison, while 88 percent of Floridians support legalizing access. The same man’s voice asks whether Wasserman Schultz is “out of touch” with Florida, and an image flashes across the screen of an elderly man and his wife, who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a fatal neurological disease.

(A  personal injury lawyer in Orlando, John Morgan, is funding a medical marijuana ballot vote in Florida, using $4 million of his own money to finance the initiative in November, 2014.)
We need to be aware that Americans for Safe Access is manipulating us and our children with deceptive suggestions.  The ad in Maryland claims that Rep. Harris’ vote on May 30th will result in sending Maryland’s patients to prison.  A voice says,  “Congressman Andy Harris thinks it’s OK for medical marijuana patients to go to federal prison, even though Maryland passed a medical marijuana bill in April. ” and then shows the image of a 4-year-old boy who suffers from epilepsy and his mother.

Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America explains the problem and suggests a solution to assure that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment is not considered in the Senate.    There’s  a simple form to notify your Senator of opposition.

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A Look Inside Colorado’s Pot Industry

By Ben Cort, Board Member, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM); Director of Business Development/CeDAR at the University of Colorado Hospital. The original article is from CADCA’s  website.

Last month I was honored to speak at CADCA’s National Leadership Forum about marijuana legalization in my home state of Colorado. I wish I could say that I was caught off guard by the reaction I received but I wasn’t. It’s the same everywhere. When people hear what is going on, when they see the pictures and advertisements, the reactions are inevitable; shock, outrage, anger, even fear.

I live in Colorado, work inside of substance abuse treatment, am in recovery myself and I have three young children in public school, that’s my platform.

Make no mistake about it, we did not just legalize weed in Colorado we christened the commercialization and industrialization of the marijuana industry in Colorado.  We welcomed in a new industry that knowingly promotes an addictive and harmful substance SO THAT PEOPLE COULD MAKE MONEY. The business of business is to make money and when there is money to be made people will signup no matter how messed up the means are.  Let’s take a quick look at how the money is and will be made inside of this industry.

As of this writing there are 47 stores in Colorado that can sell recreational weed, there are about another 300 in the queue. Already the competition is fierce and the marketing wars are heating up, imagine what will come next. Right now we have everything from free T-shirts with your weed purchase and take-out orders to home delivery and a $1 joint when you show your ski pass for the day. For these businesses to continue making the huge money they are making they will need to do two things: 1) engage new users, 2) convert current users to more frequent users.

To differentiate themselves from the competition they will offer the most amount of THC they can for the lowest price possible, sound like some potential for trouble? Our weed in Colorado is so strong (20-30 percent THC in its smoked form) that we have a strain called “green crack.” We also have a full range of edibles and concentrates, these businesses are diversifying and engaging with new (and younger) customers through new products.

Our concentrates, which are advertised aggressively, are 80-90 percent THC, and are often smoked on a super-heated needle and puts the smoker on their back with one hit.  Our edibles come in gummies, fruit sodas, suckers, candy and yummy looking baked goods that are so potent that a single pot brownie in Colorado comes with a warning that it has to be cut into fourths before consuming.

I’m guessing the 2-year-old child who ended up in the ER a few miles from my house last month didn’t read the label on the weed cookie she found before eating it.

A smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man from the mistakes of others. Consider that old saying and the plight of Colorado when considering legalization in your home state.

Three people were shot at Denver’s first 420 celebration after legalization in 2013, and chaos followed. This year more police took precaution. Photo: Joe Amon/ The Denver Post
Three people were shot at Denver’s first 420 celebration after legalization in 2013, and chaos followed. This year more police took precaution. Photo: Joe Amon/ The Denver Post

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