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Friday, February 20, 2015

Middle Schools Report Rise in Drug Incidents

English: one high-quality "bud " nug...
While marijuana legalization is in its infancy, Colorado has already witnessed some down sides. After a little more than a year since recreational sales began, Colorado middle-schools report a 24 percent increase in drug-related incidents, USA Today reports. While the schools have not reported which drugs are involved in the incidents, experts directly attribute the rise to marijuana legalization.

Across the state, middle schools reported a total of 951 drug violations, which is the highest the state has seen in a decade. The Denver Public Schools’ Executive Director of Student Services, John Simmons, says schools in his city witnessed a 7 percent increase in drug incidents (almost all involving marijuana), from 452 to 482.

"According to our data, middle schools are where most people begin to experiment," said Simmons. "It's much easier to stop someone from using in the first place than it is to stop it once it's started." Marijuana use has been a problem for many years, but, due to increased social acceptance and easier access, school officials say more students are trying the drug.

“We have seen parents come in and say, ‘Oh that’s mine, they just took it out of my room,’ and that sort of thing,” said school resource officer Judy Lutkin of the Aurora Police Department. “Parents have it in their houses more often, and the kids just can take it from home.”

“Middle schoolers are most vulnerable to being confused about marijuana,” said Dr. Christian Thurstone, attending physician for the Denver Health Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment program. “They think, ‘Well, it’s legal so it must not be a problem.’”

Supporters of legalization point out kids do not go into marijuana stores and buy the drug, and packages leaving stores do not market to children, according to the article.

"We have gone above and beyond to make sure that we are not marketing to children," said Meg Sanders, owner of MiNDFUL, which operates in several cities in Colorado selling the drug. "We feel it's our responsibility as a responsible business to card not just once but twice for any recreational customer, and medical patients have to show several documents before they can purchase marijuana."

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