Crime in America.Net
After reading our articles on marijuana and its connection to criminal activity (causing virtually all to stare at us in digital disbelief) several readers challenged us via e-mails and in the forums to clearly state the dangers of alcohol use.
There is a new document from the federal government providing a guide for parents regarding alcohol use by children. Selected statistics and the link are below.
The bottom line regarding substance abuse of any kind is age of onset, family problems and choice of friends. Kids who use marijuana or alcohol at an early age are engaging in self declaration; I have issues and unless solved, those issues may turn into major problems.
There are an enormous number of stressors in the life of a teenager, from being bullied to school to just plain fitting in. Parents need to understand that the relationship they have with their kids and what their kids do beyond school are major factors regarding self-medication.
So the marijuana advocates are correct; more kids use alcohol than drugs. Crime and other stupid acts are more closely related to alcohol than drugs.
Where the marijuana advocates are wrong is the assertion that legalized marijuana is going to make the situation equitable or better.
A consistent theme in this site is that there are endless numbers of people who simply can’t handle anything stronger than aspirin; they do incredibly stupid things while under the influence.
We don’t need a world where we have millions of additional people doing incredibly stupid things because marijuana is legalized. And before you write, please read the prior posts at the end of this article.
We do not advocate arrests for personal possession of marijuana and we certainly don’t advocate prison time. We within the criminal justice system have incredibly difficult budget issues and we have bigger fish to fry.
As to marijuana, we simply ask for a full debate as to the public health effects of legalization or decriminalization, something that advocates seem unwilling to do.
- In any month, more youth are drinking than are smoking cigarettes or using marijuana.
- Approximately10% of 12-year-olds say they have used alcohol at least once. By age 13 that number doubles. And by age 15, approximately 50% have had at least one drink
- By age 18, more than 70% of teens have had at least one drink.
- On average, young people have about 5 drinks on a single occasion.
- Of adults who started drinking before age 15, around 40% say they have the signs of alcohol dependence. That rate is four times higher than for adults who didn’t drink until they were age 21.
- Each year, approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries.
- The different “worlds” teens live in can have a big effect on their drinking. Some young people are more involved with family than others. Others turn to their friends first. Still others turn to social groups like sports teams and clubs, faith-based groups or groups of like-minded youth. The Internet, media, music, and videos are also an important part of the world of most teens. All of these affect a young person’s choices about using alcohol.
- Teens with behavior or family problems are at higher risk for alcohol use.
For prior articles on marijuana, see http://crimeinamerica.net/2010/03/02/more-on-marijuana-and-crime-crime-statistics/ and http://crimeinamerica.net/2010/01/27/crime-news-time-to-legalize-marijuana/.