Focus on the Land
We need to stop our young people frying their brains
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
In a country with more than its fair share of pot smokers, this district is known for its high marijuana use. Some call it our laidback East Coast style.
United Nations drug reports consistently rank Kiwis among the highest cannabis users in the world, at 13-14 percent of the adult population. The 2009 report found New Zealand teenagers to be the highest users among their peers around the world.
So new research showing the harmful effects of marijuana use before the age of 18 should make us pull together in our communities and redouble efforts to stop our youth smoking this drug.
It should also prompt a national debate about our drug laws, and how ineffective they are at keeping cannabis out of the lungs and brains of young Kiwis.
The study of over 1000 people in Dunedin showed that those who started using marijuana as young teenagers, and kept using it for years, had an average decline in IQ of eight points. Quitting later on did not reverse the loss.
Those who started smoking pot after age 18 did not show a similar fall in mental capacity.
Lead researcher Madeline Meier says the loss from an IQ of 100 to 92 represents a fall from a median IQ, in the 50th percentile, to being in the 29th percentile; and higher IQs correlate with higher education, higher income, better health and a longer life.
“Clearly we must focus energy on reducing the prevalence of cannabis use in adolescence,” says Dr Simon Adamson of the National Addiction Centre.
There has been an improvement since 2009; when the 2012 UN world drug report was released, NZ Drug Foundation director Ross Bell said an annual survey showed drug use among secondary school students was slowly declining.
However, the rate was still high, with about 80 percent of students having tried drugs at some point throughout their adolescence.
Don’t wait for a government solution, though — schools and families need to use this new information to stress the dangers of drug use to their children.
10:44 p.m. Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012
I agree with the writer and also want to point out that America's top problem among teens is the use of unprescribed pills. Marijuana has its disadvantages as well as its medical uses, such as providing help cancer and AIDS sufferers. My daughter who is in high school states that there is a high number of students who reach only as far as there parents' and/or grandparents' medicine cabinet to get their high. To tackle America's drug problem we must tackle the biggest issue among teens and that is pills. Good luck on your next article about how to handle this growing problem. And God bless our youth.
10:44 a.m. Sunday, Sep 02, 2012
Please do your homework - you may find NZ at the bottom of the list. America and Europeans have a far greater problem with drug abuse than Kiwis. Look at Switzerland, a country of approximately seven million people, that has an estimated 30,000 addicts who mainly use heroin and/or cocaine. The Governement runs a methodone programme, allowing addicts to get their free shots daily. England, Germany, France, Austria - you name it, they are far more advanced in drugs or marijuana abuse then the happy Kiwi.
Lets get serious
02:47 p.m. Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012
Maggie T. Does it really matter who is on top of the list . . . we are still on the list . . . Happy Kiwi hey . . . not so happy when they are addicted to "P" which has a major affect on the "Happy" part of that statement....
Let's get serious people . . . we have a problem which needs to be dealt with . . . sadly it's now a problem that affects more than one generation.
Do you support the push for food to be provided in all low-decile schools?
Yes but targeted to those who need it
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