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Don't Downplay the Risks of Rising Teen Marijuana Use - in Newsweek

The latest column from Dr. Kevin Sabet in Newsweek tackles the health harms to young people from downplaying the risk of marijuana use. The 2022 National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS) addresses untreated addiction and the rise in marijuana use by teens and young adults, and advocates for the expansion of youth-focused drug education campaigns. Yet ironically, talk of federal marijuana legalization is ramping up on Capitol Hill.

Mixed Messages

Sabet highlights the mixed messages created by the growing number of states legalizing adult recreational marijuana in contrast to the growing evidence of increased use and health harms by teens and young adults.

Kids are getting mixed messages. While teen alcohol use and smoking rates have steadily declined, marijuana use rates have increased––and there's no doubt that legalization has played a part. Despite claims to the contrary from pro-pot activists, youth marijuana use has been going up following legalization.

Sabet's editorial references research studies documenting the negative effects in multiple cities and states, including:

  • California

  • Colorado

  • Seattle

  • Oregon

  • Alaska

A Fitting Conclusion

We can't overlook or downplay the risks of today's highly potent marijuana. We must educate kids on the risks and harms of marijuana use. And as we discuss federal legalization and state rollouts like the ones happening in New York and New Jersey, we must proceed with caution and skepticism.



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