Some children smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol when still very young. By the time they graduate from high school, nearly 40% of all teens will have tried marijuana. Some later move on to more addictive substances.
We cannot assume that all children who smoke marijuana today will become heroin addicts tomorrow. But the danger does exist. And long-term studies of high school students show that few young people use other drugs without first having tried marijuana. Once a person can no longer get the initial “rush” he seeks, he begins to increase drug consumption or to look for something stronger.
Let’s face reality
The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 9.5% of youths aged 12 to 17 in the US were current illegal drug users. In 2008, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported that daily marijuana use among college students had doubled, and use of cocaine and heroin was on the rise as well.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, in 2008 an estimated 16 million people worldwide used opiates—opium, morphine, heroin and synthetic opiates.