Teens choose cannabis

A survey of 12 to 15 year olds in their early teens has found that 7 per cent had tried an illicit drug in the past year.

Cannabis is substantially the illicit drug used by the 12 to 15 year olds.

These early teenagers tried illicit drugs because they were curious and friends or acquaintances supplied the drugs.

For 16 to 17 year olds almost one in five (18%) had tried illicit drugs.

Almost one in three teenagers aged 18 and 19 had tried illicit drugs.

Speed and ecstasy were also popular while less than half those that had used illicit drugs having tried heroin.

A minority being 27 per cent of teenagers wanted cannabis legalised.

(Source: Australian Associated Press 22 November 2005)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

These surveys of teenage drug use show that the message of the dangers of illicit drugs and particularly cannabis had not got through.

Young people in their early teens are most vulnerable to brain damage from early cannabis use as the adolescent brain is still developing.

Brain damage from early cannabis use is caused by interruption to the development of the adolescent brain.

This brain damage will show up in illnesses in later life such as psychosis, schizophrenia and cancer.

Cannabis also damages the human immune system so that users are more likely to get illnesses and infections.

Australia MUST reduce its drug using population by providing voluntary or court ordered detoxification and rehabilitation for illicit drug users.