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Press Release

Caron Treatment Centers Warns of Potential Dangers of Marijuana Legalization

Leading addiction not-for-profit treatment center advises policymakers to expand upon marijuana education, prevention, research, and treatment

Wernersville, PA (January 30, 2017) – 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 teens 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 teen and young adult development. Statistics that support these concerns include the following:

  • Approximately 1.8 million teens used marijuana in the past month in the United States. (SAMHSA)
  • Of the teen population seeking treatment at Caron, 93.6% of teen males and 84.4% of teen 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 teen 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 teens 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.

Media Contact:
Caron Treatment Centers
Karen Pasternack

FleishmanHillard on behalf of Caron
Adam Silverstein