Tag Archives: Negative

After legalizing marijuana, Colorado sees higher number of “daily” users

Lee Strobel tweeted this story from the Denver Post.

Excerpt:

As marijuana legalization took hold in Colorado, the estimated percentage of regular cannabis users in the state jumped to the second-highest level in the country, according to new federal data.

When asked, roughly one out of every eight Colorado residents over the age of 12 reported using marijuana in the previous month. Only Rhode Island topped Colorado in the percentage of residents who reported using marijuana as frequently.

The results come from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and represent the average of estimates gathered in 2012 and 2013.

[…]State-specific data from the survey are averaged over two-year periods to compensate for relatively small sample sizes.

For the 2011-12 period, 10.4 percent of Coloradans 12 and older reported using marijuana in the month prior to being surveyed. That placed Colorado seventh in the country for monthly marijuana use.

Monthly use in Colorado jumped to 12.7 percent — a 22 percent increase — in the 2012-13 data. The result means the survey estimates about 530,000 people in Colorado use marijuana at least once a month.

Nationally, monthly marijuana use by people 12 and older nudged upward by about 4 percent to 7.4 percent. In Washington state — which, like Colorado, in 2012 legalized marijuana use and limited possession for adults — monthly marijuana use rose by about 20 percent to 12.3 percent.

Kleiman said researchers will get a better idea about marijuana use in Colorado once they are able to zoom in on data showing how many people use marijuana daily. A study commissioned by Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division this year found that people who use marijuana almost every day account for about 22 percent of cannabis users in Colorado but consume nearly 67 percent of the marijuana used. Other studies have warned about a possible uptick in heavy marijuana use.

“The fraction of people who are monthly users who are in fact daily users has gone way, way up,” Kleiman said.

Monthly marijuana use increased across all age groups in Colorado, according to the new survey numbers. The number of people who reported using marijuana in the past year also increased in Colorado in the 2012-13 data, but the state ranked only sixth nationally in the measurement. Measurements for alcohol consumption and illicit drug use increased, as well.

What will be interesting will be to see how this increased usage affects tax revenues and the crime rate. I think when more people use mind-altering drugs, it is going to harm their ability to get and keep jobs, which affects tax revenue. And when people are addicted to something, they are more inclined to take a risk on committing a crime to get the money to pay for their next fix. Should be interesting to learn from Colorado’s little experiment.

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New 20-year study: long-term use of cannabis raises risk of mental health problems

A new study on marijuana was reported in the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

A definitive 20-year study into the effects of long-term cannabis use has demolished the argument that the drug is safe.

Cannabis is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and opens the door to hard drugs, the study found.

The paper by Professor Wayne Hall, a drugs advisor to the World Health Organisation, builds a compelling case against those who deny the devastation cannabis wreaks on the brain. 

Professor Hall found:

  • One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it
  • Cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia
  • Cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
  • One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs
  • Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, a risk which increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink
  • Smoking it while pregnant reduces the baby’s birth weight

Last night Professor Hall, a professor of addiction policy at King’s College London, dismissed the views of those who say that cannabis is harmless.

‘If cannabis is not addictive then neither is heroin or alcohol,’ he said.

‘It is often harder to get people who are dependent on cannabis through withdrawal than for heroin – we just don’t know how to do it.’

Those who try to stop taking cannabis often suffer anxiety, insomnia, appetite disturbance and depression, he found. Even after treatment, less than half can stay off the drug for six months.

I’m seeing a lot of “Christian libertarians” being supportive of initiatives to legalize drugs, but there is a reason why drugs are illegal. They hurt people. They hurt families. Why would we want to celebrate and normalize something that is known to cause harm?

Please see below for more recent studies on the effects of marijuana.

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Report: Negative impacts from the legalization of marijuana in Colorado

The Daily Signal reports on a new peer-reviewed study.

Excerpt:

A published academic peer-reviewed study and another thorough study set to be released next Monday show:

  • An increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Colorado since 2009
  • An increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Colorado compared to non-“medical marijuana” states since 2009
  • Alcohol-related fatalities remained the same

[…]Marijuana was in essence legalized in Colorado in 2009, when the state commercialized the sale of so-called “medical marijuana.” By commercializing the sale, and thus consumption of marijuana across the state, the state saw a large increase in use by its citizens, and citizens from other states, so-called pot tourists.

In other words, 2009 was a pivotal year for Colorado and its’ drivers.

In the three years prior to 2009 (2006-2008), Colorado averaged 35 drivers per year who tested positive for marijuana in fatal accidents.

In the three years after 2009 (2010-2012), Colorado averaged 57.3 drivers per year who tested positive for marijuana use in fatal accidents—a 64 percent increase over the pre-2009 numbers.

Here’s the results from the abstract of the paper:

RESULTS:

In Colorado, since mid-2009 when medical marijuana became commercially available and prevalent, the trend became positive in the proportion of drivers in a fatal motor vehicle crash who were marijuana-positive (change in trend, 2.16 (0.45), p<0.0001); in contrast, no significant changes were seen in NMMS. For both Colorado and NMMS, no significant changes were seen in the proportion of drivers in a fatal motor vehicle crash who were alcohol-impaired.

And now here is another report that explains some of the other effects of legalizing marijuana.

Excerpt:

According to the new report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area entitled “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,” the impact of legalized marijuana in Colorado has resulted in:

  1. The majority of DUI drug arrests involve marijuana and 25 to 40 percent were marijuana alone.
  2. In 2012, 10.47 percent of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.55 percent nationally. Colorado ranked fourth in the nation, and was 39 percent higher than the national average.
  3. Drug-related student suspensions/expulsions increased 32 percent from school years 2008-09 through 2012-13, the vast majority were for marijuana violations.
  4. In 2012, 26.81 percent of college age students were considered current marijuana users compared to 18.89 percent nationally, which ranks Colorado third in the nation and 42 percent above the national average.
  5. In 2013, 48.4 percent of Denver adult arrestees tested positive for marijuana, which is a 16 percent increase from 2008.
  6. From 2011 through 2013 there was a 57 percent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits.
  7. Hospitalizations related to marijuana has increased 82 percent since 2008.

The report includes other data about the negative effect of legalizing marijuana in Colorado, including marijuana-related exposure to children, treatment, the flood of marijuana in and out of Colorado, the dangers of pot extraction labs and other disturbing factual trends.

Part of me thinks that posting this is futile. Sensible people will not be surprised by it, but the libertarians and Democrats who think that legalized pot is wonderful are probably so brain-damaged already that they won’t care what studies say at all. Marijuana is dangerous and addictive. We shouldn’t legalize it, and we shouldn’t normalize it.

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Studies show that religious involvement is beneficial to children

I found survey of the relevant literature at Reasons for God blog.

Excerpt:

Imagine with me two different parenting styles: Type A and Type B. When these two types are scientifically compared to one another, and the outcomes of each approach to children are carefully measured, a wide difference emerges. Furthermore, the differences are controlled for factors such as race, age, sex, rural vs. urban residence, region, parental education, number of siblings, whether the mother works, and the presence of a father or male guardian at home.

Still, it emerges that seniors in high school who are raised by the Type A approach, when compared to the Type B approach, are:

  1. Less likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, drink excessively, go to bars, use, sell, or take drugs, get a traffic ticket, argue with their parents, skip school, be suspended or expelled from school, hit their teachers, be violent, and commit a variety of crimes from shoplifting to armed robbery.
  2. In addition to avoiding these negative behaviors, they are more likely to exercise, play sports, volunteer, and participate in student government.

As a parent who wants the very best for your child, on the basis of this data, which parenting approach makes more sense? If you want your children to be physically active, serving in the community, and leaders at their school, while avoiding violent behavior, criminal activity and drug use, you’re better off with the Type A approach.

[…]Type A outcomes are for the most religious high school seniors when contrasted with the least religious high school seniors.

So the data leads us to the conclusion that parents can strengthen the likelihood of good outcomes for their children, not by sending them to Camp Quest, but by fostering religious commitment for their children. The study quoted above is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, a large number of studies demonstrate positive physical, emotional, and psychological benefits, all associated with greater rather than lesser religiosity.

For instance, other studies have shown that the more religious parents are, the more likely the are to have strong and supportive relationships with their children. These positive effects of religion include:

  • Mothers who became more religious throughout the first 18 years of their child’s life reported a better relationship with that child, regardless of the level of their religious practice before the child was born.
  • Mothers who attended religious services less often over time reported a lower-quality relationship with their adult child.
  • Grandmothers’ religious practice illustrates an intergenerational influence. The more religious a mother’s mother is, the more likely the mother has a good relationship with her own child.
  • Greater religious practice of fathers is associated with better relationships with their children, higher expectations for good relationships in the future, a greater investment in their relationships with their children, a greater sense of obligation to stay in regular contact with their children, and a greater likelihood of supporting their children and grandchildren.
  • Compared with fathers who had no religious affiliation, those who attended religious services frequently were more likely to monitor their children, praise and hug their children, and spend time with their children.

Are these studies just cherry-picked in favor of religion? According to one review of the literature, which involved “a larger systematic review of 850 studies on the religion-mental health relationship published during the 20th Century”t:

The majority of well-conducted studies found that higher levels of religious involvement are positively associated with indicators of psychological well-being (life satisfaction, happiness, positive affect, and higher morale) and with less depression, suicidal thoughts and behavior, drug/alcohol use/abuse. Usually the positive impact of religious involvement on mental health is more robust among people under stressful circumstances (the elderly, and those with disability and medical illness).

The fact is that Dawkins and Humphrey, for all their rhetorical flair, have unsupported theories about the effects of religion on children and families, theories which are not supported by the scientific research. They are ‘leaps of faith’, in line with their preconceived secularism, rather than sober deductions from a look at the evidence. Likewise, Camp Quest is encouraging children to adopt exactly the wrong kind of worldview. From the data above, it appears that a religious summer camp is a distinctively better choice for the development of children.

On the basis of these studies, the evidence-based conclusion is that religion is good for kids, good for their parents, and good for society overall.

Fascinating stuff, especially since it contradicts the assertions of Richard Dawkins. It’s important to let evidence decide these questions, and the evidence is clear. Religion is good for children. Now, having said that, Christians don’t practice their religion because it is a life enhancement – we practice it because it is true. And we have reasons to believe that it is true that hold up well in debates about Christianity.