Costa Rica News – Is is getting more popular to light up a joint than a cigarette with many Costa Rican school kids. The National Adolescent Clinic Children’s Hospital did a study with 3,373 school children. They found that the percentage who have used marijuana rose from just 1% in 1991 to 15% last year. Of the total surveyed, 3% admitted combining marijuana with cocaine.
Those who smoked tobacco fell more than a third from 2006 to 2013. 38% of students smoked tobacco seven years ago, compared to 9% today. The change in smoking tobacco might be because of the smoking ban or because it’s now illegal to sell single cigarettes.
The study also showed that 23% of respondents reached a state of intoxication in the 30 days before the survey. Furthermore, 6% said they used other drugs, synthetic drugs or hallucinogenic mushrooms. Of them, 11 used heroin, a drug which did not appear in the studies in 1991 or 2006, causing great concern now.
The Institute of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency recorded a 14% marijuana dependency in the tenth grade. The director of an adolescent clinic said, “It’s worrisome. Many young people have the pretext that marijuana is natural and less harmful than tobacco.” He goes on to explain the effect it has on those under age 25, “an adolescent brain is not fully developed…These young people see changes in memory, concentration and limited attention, and tasks such as planning, anticipation, prediction and making decisions are also limited.” The frontal lobe of the brain still hasn’t been developed and this is the area that gives the ability to measure consequences and discern between right and wrong.
There are also more controls on the sale to minors. Those who get involved in drugs often get lured into selling, as well. Because they are hooked at an affordable price and then it goes up. They then sell to support their own consumption.