NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla., Feb. 17, 2014 -- /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The legalization of recreational marijuana use in both Colorado and Washington has spurred several other states to question their positions on the substance—a movement that has even prompted the city council in Washington, D.C., to take a step toward decriminalizing marijuana amid a widening U.S. push to loosen sanctions against users of the drug (1). But despite the seemingly growing acceptance of marijuana use throughout the U.S., Novus Medical Detox, one of the only Florida-based detox centers serving high-dosage drug abuse patients, says that the substance is not only addictive but its use could also lead to several adverse consequences, as indicated by its role in the increasing number of fatal car crashes.
Recent reports show fatal crashes involving marijuana use tripled during the previous decade, contributing to 12 percent of 2010 crashes compared to 4 percent in 1999 (2). In addition to its ability to impair drivers, studies have also proven that marijuana use can cause:
- Increased heart rate. It can jump by anywhere from 20 percent to 100 percent, which may increase the risk of heart attack, especially in otherwise vulnerable individuals.
- Altered judgment and decision making. Experts say that this can contribute to high-risk sexual behaviors that could lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Cognitive impairment persisting beyond the time of intoxication.
- Poorer educational outcomes, poorer job performance and diminished life satisfaction (3).
According to Novus Executive Director Kent Runyon, the legalization of marijuana, and the nationwide glorification that will likely accompany it, is the beginning stage of yet another potential drug epidemic—one that will likely mirror that of prescription drugs.
"To date, we as a nation have failed to maintain control of prescription drugs, so it's doubtful that marijuana regulation would fare any better," Runyon said. "Legalizing any addictive substance, especially one that the general public seems to think is harmless, poses an increased risk of abuse and is a major threat to American society."
Rather than increasing public access to addictive substances such as marijuana, Runyon poses an alternative: healthcare professionals should conduct responsible research into the medicinal properties of marijuana that could result in the use of non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy attainable medications. In addition, Runyon suggests the use of public education about the real dangers of marijuana use, rather than incarceration, for people currently struggling with addiction, as well as those contemplating its use.
Because marijuana users can suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug cravings (4), detox can be a critical first step for those looking to overcome addiction as the number of people seeking treatment has grown. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that in 1993, marijuana comprised approximately 8 percent of all treatment admissions, but that by 2009, that number had increased to 18 percent (5).
"Although we treat many clients for substances such as heroin and prescription drugs," added Runyon, "95 percent of our clients began their drug use with marijuana use before graduating to harder narcotics or opioids ... because over time, people become acclimated to its effects and start seeking stronger highs, and legalizing marijuana will only further these incidences and endanger American society."
Runyon advises those who are dependent on any abusive substance(s) to seek out safe, medically-supervised detox programs, and to participate in those programs that use integrated medicine which allows the detox process to be as comfortable as possible.
About Novus Medical Detox Center:
Novus Medical Detox Center offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families as an inpatient medical detox facility. Novus is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient, incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment—putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, television, DVD player and high-speed Internet access. For more information, visit www.novusdetox.com.
1. Selway, William. "Marijuana Decriminalization Advances in Washington, D.C." Bloomberg.com. N.p., 5 Feb. 2014. Web. 6 Feb. 2014. bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-05/marijuana-decriminalization-advances-in-washington-d-c-.html.
2. Thompson, Dennis. "Fatal Car Crashes Involving Pot Use Have Tripled." Webmd.com. N.p., 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 6 Feb. 2014. webmd.com/mental-health/news/20140204/fatal-car-crashes-involving-pot-use-have-tripled-in-us-study-finds.
3. Payne, Cathy, and Michelle Healy. "Marijuana's Health Effects." Usatoday.com. N.p., 7 Dec. 2012. Web. 6 Feb. 2014. webmd.com/mental-health/news/20140204/fatal-car-crashes-involving-pot-use-have-tripled-in-us-study-finds.
4. "DrugFacts: Marijuana." Drugabuse.gov. National Institute on Drug Abuse, Jan. 2014. Web. 6 Feb. 2014. webmd.com/mental-health/news/20140204/fatal-car-crashes-involving-pot-use-have-tripled-in-us-study-finds.
5. "Marijuana & Public Health." Learnaboutsam.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2014. learnaboutsam.com/public-health/#_ftn14.
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SOURCE Novus Medical Detox