In the News
New York Follows Suit in the Medical Marijuana Foray, While the Facts of Regular Cannabinoid Use Remain Underpublicized
Nearly two dozen states have approved marijuana for medical purposes and Colorado and Washington have legalized its use for pleasure,as of mid-January. New York’s Governor Cuomo has proposed a medical marijuana plan that will allow as many as 20 hospitals to dispense the drug to people with certain severe illnesses as an experimental research project. Publicizing the well-researched effects of regular marijuana use and the facts of cannabinoid composition has taken a backseat to the news coverage of marketing marijuana to a welcoming consumer population and its enobling use in quelling seizures in sick children. Read More
As marijuana inches toward universal legaility, the whole and absolute truth about using marijuana becomes of critical concern to parents everywhere.
Working hard to spread the truth is Dr. Bertha Madras, currently a professor of psychobiology at Harvard Medical School and formerly a deputy director for demand reduction at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Dr. Madras addressed school counselors, medical professionals, and prevention specialists at the Ossining Open Door Family Medical Center this fall at the invitation of Ossining Communities That Care.
In reviewing the abundance of data available on marijuana use, Dr. Madras challenged the many misconceptions that surround the issue of legalization, and revealed the false foundations behind the ways marijuana is presented in an appealing light, among them: "It’s a natural substance." "It isn’t addicting." "It’s safer than cigarettes." "You don’t get hung over."
The mood elevation, euphoria, and heightened sensory input that are the acute effects of marijuana use are accompanied by impairments to memory, attention, judgment, motor coordination, cognition, time sense, self-perception, sleep, balance, and the ability to complete complex tasks. Disjointed thoughts, anxiety, and dizziness are also among the acute effects of use. As the level of potency in today’s marijuana supply continues to ramp up rapidly, the implications of these acute effects for driving ability, toxicity, addiction and psychosis propensities become all too obvious, and urgent.
Addressing the myth that "marijuana carries less risk than tobacco," Dr. Madras makes an extensive comparison of scientific measurements between tobacco and cannabinoids that flatters neither substance, and shows, among other things, that there is twenty times the ammonia, and more tar, benzene and cancer-causing agents in marijuana than occur in tobacco.
That marijuana is not an addictive substance is contradicted by research, and simply taking the practical view, Madras points out that admissions for marijuana addiction treatment among 15-to-19-year olds are much higher than those for alcohol addiction. In fact, the progression to chronic use is typically more rapid with marijuana than with alcohol.
Long-term effects of marijuana can linger in the body for up to twenty days, meaning learning ability could be compromised for extended periods of time. Studies have indicated that effects can endure into adulthood for users who started before age 18, and early use has been linked to learning deficits and irreversible lower IQ.
Marijuana use increases the risk of using other drugs by a factor of 21; daily use of marijuana increases the risk of other drug use 124-fold. Madras notes that addiction in youth progresses more rapidly than with adult users, and that marijuana addiction is a habit hard to break, with only 15 percent of those who go through treatment remaining abstinent 6 to 12 months later.
The perception of risk among young people for marijuana use is decreasing, (see Focus on Prevention on this page) a statistic that unfortunately goes hand-in-hand with the increase in daily use of the drug. Every day seven thousand people in this country use marijuana for the first time. Dr. Madras reaches out to parents to stem this tide, urging them to show their disapproval, which is known to be an effective protective factor for youth (e.g. Among parents who disapprove of smoking, the rate of tobacco use by their children is lower than for children whose parents do not disapprove.)
Madras also urges parents to stay involved with their teens’ school studies and help them with their homework. Staying connected is an effective contributor to keeping them safe. Above all, Madras wants everyone to understand that marijuana is anything but safe, and should be kept out of the hands, and lives, of America’s young people.
Get Ready for Prom
Take this brief, interactive course on underage drinking, and find out how much you don't know about alcohol consumption by your kids, their friends, your niece or nephew, your grandchild, your neighbors’ kids. Participating in a teen version of this course is a prerequisite for Ossining High School promgoers, so take a few minutes now to stay up-to-speed with our high schoolers, and learn what you can do to prevent the binge drinking that is impacting our youth and the Ossining community at large.
Click on AlcoholEdu to gain access to the course. Type 2014parent in the New User box and click Sign Up to begin. You will be asked to select a password to facilitate returning to the site.
Also making prevention headlines . . .
OSSINING POLICE TAKING BACK UNWANTED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS APRIL 26 AT BIRDSALL-FAGAN POLICE/COURT FACILITY
On Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Village of Ossining Police, the Ossining Communities That Care coalition, and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to Birdsall-Fagan Police/Court Facility at 86-88 Spring Street. The service is free, convenient, and anonymous.
If you are unable to stop by the Spring Street facility on April 26, you can still dispose of your unwanted medications safely and conveniently. Just inside the police station door there is a MedReturn unit that accepts prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs from Ossining residents on a 24/7 basis.