Drug abuse institute warns legalized pot adds to tobacco, alcohol addiction crisis

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Bethesda, MD, United States (4E) – The United States does not need a third legal drug, marijuana, to add up to the already growing health problems caused by tobacco and alcohol consumption, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The health complication of marijuana use is addiction to the drug and making it legal will cause widespread use and more addicts, NIDA warned in a review published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We don’t need a third legal drug. We already have enough problems with the two we have,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora D. Volkow, author of the review.

Volkow said younger or teen users of marijuana are more vulnerable to be addicted to pot. Like alcohol intoxication, marijuana addiction can lead to vehicular accidents. Addiction also impairs memory functions and critical thinking and contributes to lower IQ into adulthood. Marijuana’s effect is more potent when combined with alcohol, another potent legal drug which is known to cause addiction.

The review cited the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health that estimated 2.7 million people 12 years of age and older as marijuana dependent. Persons who begin to use marijuana in adulthood are approximately 2 to 4 times more likely to have symptoms of cannabis dependence within 2 years after first use than those who begin in adolescence, the review added.

Although still illegal in most countries in the world, marijuana contains an active ingredient called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that helps treat glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. It also contains properties that can be used as pain relievers especially helpful to cancer patients. That is why in several U.S. states, the use of marijuana for medical purposes is legal. Colorado went further by legalizing recreational pot.

Despite, the so-called medical benefits of marijuana, Volkow said legalizing pot makes it more accessible like alcohol and tobacco, which resulted in far greater impact on health in the U.S.

Brady Granier, COO of BioCoRX Inc.(OTCQX: BICX), a leader in addiction rehabilitation in the U.S., said alcohol abuse is already a major problem in the country.

“The media spends a lot of time focusing on marijuana legalization and the heroin epidemic which are tremendously important issues, but alcoholism remains relatively sidelined from attention comparatively speaking. It’s a massive problem that needs equal attention” said Granier.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), too much consumption of alcohol could be fatal. The effects of alcohol can be felt a few minutes after taking a sip. The higher the blood alcohol concentration is present in the bloodstream, the higher the consequences are. Alcohol impairs motor skills, concentration, reduces inhibition. It is a big factor to accidental deaths such as car crashes, homicides and suicides. There were 85,000 alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. each year.

NIAAA said that in 2012, more than 20 percent of adults have admitted to binge drinking in the past month and 7.1 percent admitted to heavy drinking. Binge drinking is drinking five or more alcoholic drinks in a day. Heavy drinking is characterized as drinking five or more drinks in one occasion. The statistics further showed that there is an estimated 17 million Americans who have Alcohol Use Disorder or alcoholism and harmful drinking which has not yet reached the level of dependency.

Alcohol dependency is preventable and can be treated through medication, coaching programs and therapies, as well as combination of these modes. One medication that has shown promise in treating addiction is Naltrexone, especially when it is in implant form.

BioCoRx has a Start Fresh Program combining both Naltrexone implants and life coaching to help alcohol dependents combat addiction on a long-term basis. With the implant, patients are treated with a slow release dose of naltrexone. Unlike being taken in the form of pill, naltrexone implants are more effective because it is automatically released on schedule. Start Fresh Program is used by independent rehab clinics across the U.S.

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