Teen marijuana smoking increase? DEA concerned following New Mexico legalization

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, states who legalized recreational marijuana saw an increase in use among those under 18, raising a huge concern in the Borderland now that New Mexico has become one of those states.

“The men and women of the DEA are concerned because New Mexico is already No. 5 in the nation for youth marijuana use,” said Carlos Briano, Public Information Officer for the DEA El Paso Division. “We believe the legalization of recreational marijuana will increase the availability and accessibility to the youth of New Mexico and the parts of Texas that border the state, including El Paso.”

New Mexico is the 17th state to legalize recreational cannabis for adults and similar measures have passed or are close to passing in 17 other states.

“Marijuana use in teenagers and young adults is very damaging to the young brain,” Briano said. “Various entities, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Pediatric Medical Association, numerous universities and state health departments have all reported stunted brain development and an increase in mental health issues when young people use and misuse marijuana and THC products, especially those with high levels of THC.”

Parents have different resources that can help them if they are concerned their children are doing drugs.

A publication titled “Preventing Marijuana Use Among Youth and Young Adults” is available in English and Spanish on getsmartaboutdrugs.com/publications. That eight-page document goes into great detail concerning the scope of the problem in the U.S., changes in perceived risk, the brain science, the range of physical and mental effects, including while driving, problems linked to school performance and how THC levels have increased over the decades.

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The mission of BorderReport.com is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.