WERNERSVILLE, Pa., Jan. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Caron Treatment Centers, a leading not-for-profit provider of addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment with 60 years of experience, cautions policymakers about the potential health risks associated with the legalization of recreational marijuana. Furthermore, Caron strongly recommends that in states where it's legal, use is restricted to those aged 25 and older.
Caron recently published a position paper on the topic, titled Marijuana: Proceed with Caution, which highlights issues that need to be taken into account when considering legalization, including: taxation, driving, edibles, and decriminalization. It also addresses the significant impact of marijuana use on brain development in adolescents and young adults.
While the expanding legalization of marijuana has somewhat "normalized" the drug, clinical experts at Caron have seen firsthand the impact it can have on adolescent and young adult development. Statistics that support these concerns include the following:
- Approximately 1.8 million adolescents used marijuana in the past month in the United States. (SAMHSA)
- Of the adolescent population seeking treatment at Caron, 93.6% of adolescent males and 84.4% of adolescent females are marijuana users.
- 92.1% of Caron patients under the age of 18 listed marijuana as their drug of choice.
- Only 1.7% of marijuana users in treatment at Caron are solely using marijuana. The other 98.3% of patients who list marijuana as a drug of choice are also using another drug.
"Research indicates marijuana may significantly impact adolescent brain development and performance, alter brain functioning, increase the risk of developing mental illness, and impair cognitive thinking," said Doug Tieman, President and CEO of Caron Treatment Centers. "Therefore, we strongly believe adolescents and young adults under the age of 25 should never have legal access to the drug and states should require ID to prevent underage sales."
Caron's position paper on marijuana also includes comprehensive recommendations and guidelines for policymakers considering or enacting marijuana legalization. These recommendations aim to prevent use, minimize harm, and ensure any tax revenue generated from the sale of recreational marijuana is directed towards prevention, education, additional research, and treatment.
"We must take advantage of this opportunity to shape the policies and conversations surrounding marijuana and substance abuse to benefit the health of our children and future generations," said Tieman. "Lawmakers need to pause for a deeper understanding because lives are at stake."
As the legalization of marijuana continues to expand, Caron Treatment Centers hopes policymakers will use these recommendations to minimize harm to public health and to create additional funding for education, prevention, research, and recovery.
About Caron Treatment Centers
With nearly 60 years in the field, Caron Treatment Centers operates lifesaving addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment. Caron is headquartered in Wernersville, Pennsylvania with Ocean Drive and Caron Renaissance located in Palm Beach County, Florida. Caron has Recovery Centers in New England, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., which offer community and recovery support. Caron's Recovery Centers in Atlanta and New York City also offer pre- and post-treatment services. Caron has the most extensive continuum of care including adolescents, young adults, adults and seniors. Caron also offers specialized programming for executives, lawyers and health care professionals. Caron's treatment is customized to meet the needs of individuals and families – with highly trained teams prepared to address co-occurring disorders. Caron offers an innovative approach to ongoing recovery care support for its former patients and their families with online peer groups and other resources during the first year of transition following discharge. For more information on Caron, please visit Caron at www.caron.org or follow us on Twitter.
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SOURCE Caron Treatment Centers