Children Using Marijuana Rising in UK

The UK has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world. The number of children receiving treatment for addiction to marijuana has hit a record high, with one expert warning that the age young people try the drug for the first time has fallen. Studies have shown that while cannabis use has been going down in the last decade, the age for first time users is often 12 or 13. The younger a person is when they first try marijuana, the greater the health risks to the development of the brain, emotional and social problems, along with the probability of future substance abuse and addiction.

Public Health England claims, over 13,500 children received medical treatment for drug addiction to cannabis, which is an increase of nearly 50% in seven years, according to the latest statistics. This represents 68% of those under the age of 18 who received medical treatment for substance abuse in England in 2012 through 2013.

Many people including medical professionals consider marijuana a benign drug, despite the new and mounting evidence that it causes multiple health consequences. There is a general lack of public concern and awareness of how harmful this drug can be, particularly when used by children and young adults. Though parents may not be ready to discuss substance use and abuse with their children, children need to be educated about the dangers and consequences of cannabis use at an earlier age, in order to prevent the experimentation that is happening. Kids can comprehend a lot without understanding the finer details; for example, they know brain damage is not a good thing even if they cannot appreciate what it really means.

A major issue in the treatment of children is the lack of adequate programs for this age group. This lack is due partially to public and parental denial of the growing problem.

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