There are a lot of issues in this world as the pandemic appears to have no end in sight. We won’t point fingers today. We need to look down the road to where we want to be and figure out how we are going to get there.

The focus of Family Recovery Center is on substance misuse, and in particular today, addiction to marijuana that too often leads a user to dependence on opioids. The war isn’t against a killer virus only.

The Senate Finance Committee of Congress is drafting the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA.) If this becomes law it will “totally legalize the cultivation, production, distribution and sale of marijuana thus totally commercializing a new addictive and harmful substance,” says CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America.) That includes television and social media advertising.

“It’s just marijuana,” we can hear people saying. “Why are people making such a big deal about marijuana?”

Here’s the thing: Marijuana is not a harmless substance. Studies have linked marijuana use to memory problems, psychotic-like symptoms, depression, anxiety disorder. The more potent it is, the worse the effects on the user, reports CADCA.

The concept of the bill is to regulate marijuana the way tobacco and alcohol are regulated, but no potency labeling like alcohol and no packaging like tobacco, which CADCA says would give marijuana businesses free reign. They could misrepresent their products (aka lie) about the health benefits of their products. They could advertise on television and social media, reaching youth and contributing to the increasing use of harmful substances by teens.

You may think marijuana isn’t a gateway to other substances, but take a look at these statistics from studies on the subject, as provided by CADCA.

— People with a history of marijuana use have a 2.76 times greater likelihood of initiating opioid use than non-users and a 2.52 times greater likelihood of transitioning to opioid misuse or dependence than non-users.

— High potency marijuana and the use of marijuana pastes, gummies, and vapes is associated with depression and impaired cognitive function.

— The higher the dosage of THC the greater memory impairment and psychotic-like symptoms, and generalized anxiety disorder.

— 1 in 6 marijuana users who start young will become addicted to marijuana.

— Science has proven that marijuana is addictive, harmful to the developing brain, can cause significant mental and physical health issues, impairs driving ability and causes increased fatal car accidents.

— Marijuana is the most common substance present in suicides among adolescents age 10-19.

“[L]egalizing marijuana during a time of unprecedented public health challenges is irresponsible and will harm communities and individuals across the country,” says CADCA.

Family Recovery Center helps families to find ways to navigate through the challenges we face. For more information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468, or email, FRC is funded in part by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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