Countries like Ireland are taking a new approach to the war on illegal drugs–decriminalizing them. The hope is to reduce the stigma that exists around addiction and encourage people with substance use disorders to seek treatment. But is it a good idea? Legalization measures would open up access to these drugs, making it easier for minors to get a hold of them. Marijuana, for example, is a gateway drug. Percentage of marijuana use by teens, according to the National Institute on Drug use (NIDA):
- 15.6 percent eighth graders
- 33.7 percent tenth graders
- 44.4 percent twelve graders
Marijuana is an addictive substance, and people experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. They may become agitated, anxious, or irritable and have trouble sleeping. Users of heroin and cocaine can experience even more debilitating withdrawal symptoms. Some people falsely believe a legal drug is a safe drug. The legalization of these types of substances may make people less aware of the risks—and awareness is key in fighting back against substance use. So here’s a better plan. Increase understanding about addiction and substance use disorders and improve access to comprehensive treatment. Do you think decriminalizing drug will reduce substance use? Add your thoughts and comments below and follow us on Facebook!