Teen Marijuana Use Is On The Rise Since Legalization – At Least In Washington, New Study Finds

Teen marijuana use is on the rise in Washington state since legalization, and fewer Washington teens have a negative view of marijuana since legalization, a new study concludes. As Yahoo News reports, researchers at the University of California-Davis and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health have published a study that confirms what some legalization opponents have long suspected: that legalization has led to more teens using pot. More teenagers in Washington state are using marijuana since legalization. [Image by Axente Vlad/Shutterstock] Specifically, marijuana use among 13-14-year-olds in Washington increased by two percent since The Evergreen State legalized recreational marijuana use in 2015; and pot use among 15-16-year-olds increased by four percent. Further, it appears that legalizing marijuana has changed some teenagers’ opinions about the drug; negative perceptions of marijuana declined by 14 percent among the younger age group, and 16 percent among the older age group. Washington law allows for adults over the age of 21 to purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Similarly, adults are allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use, provided they are not in public view. Ostensibly, these laws are intended to keep legal pot out of the hands of teenagers; however, the news study seems to indicate that that has not been the case. Over in Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use, teenage marijuana use has either remained the same or even gone down, depending on whose numbers you choose to believe. Teen pot use in Colorado has either remained steady or even dropped, depending on whom you ask. [Image by Bruce Stanfield/Shutterstock] For example, Scientific American reported that teen pot use in Colorado has gone down since legalization, according to a survey by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Specifically, 21.2 percent of Colorado high school students surveyed in 2015 had used marijuana during the preceding 30 days, down from 22 percent in 2011. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012. “The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally.” Similarly, The Denver Post reported the same figures in July of this year. However, the Post compared those figures to 2013 numbers, which showed that in 2013, 19.7 percent of Colorado teens had admitted to smoking pot in the previous 30 days. That’s actually a 0.5 percent increase in reported teen pot use. But Larry Volk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, called that 0.5 percent increase “statistically insignificant.” Back in Washington, the purported increase in teen pot use has some pediatricians worried. Study author Magdalena Cerdá, writing in The Journal of the American Medical Association – Pediatrics, said that Washington, and other states that have legalized marijuana, should consider the impact their laws have on kids. “While legalization for recreational purposes is currently limited to adults, potential impacts on adolescent marijuana use are of particular concern.” The effects of marijuana on children, adolescents and teenagers remain unclear; because cannabis is a Schedule I Controlled Substance, meaning that the federal government has deemed it has “no medicinal value,” it is impossible for researchers to conduct clinically-controlled research studies on the effects of the drug on the adolescent brain. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that marijuana may have a damaging effect on teenagers’ developing brains, according to a 2014 NPR News report. Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, said that the teenage brain “streamlines” during adolescence, getting rid of redundant neural connections in order to make the brain smarter and more efficient. Cannabis use interrupts that process, she says. “It’s the absolute worst time [to use marijuana].” Do you believe that marijuana legalization will lead to more teen pot use? [Featured Image by Photographee.eu/Shutterstock]

Breastfeeding Georgia Mom Says She Was Threatened With Arrest For Breastfeeding At Grocery Store

A Georgia woman says that she was threatened with arrest for breastfeeding her infant son in a grocery store, something that Georgia law says she is allowed to do, WTVM (Columbus, Georgia) is reporting. Savannah Shukla was shopping at a Columbus Piggly Wiggly (a popular chain of grocery stores in the South) when her one-month-old son, Kumar, started fussing. As every mother who has ever breast-fed will tell you, when a baby starts fussing, there’s not much you can do besides feed him. So Shukla did what she has done countless times before; she put her baby to her breast and let him eat while she continued shopping. Savannah says that she has breast-fed at Piggly Wiggly before. But as she explained in a lengthy Facebook post, a Muscogee County deputy happened to be at the Piggly Wiggly that day, and he took exception to Savannah breastfeeding in public. Shukla says the cop, identified by another Facebook user as “Officer Zipata,” told her she needed to cover up because someone might find her partially-exposed breast “offensive.” Shukla refused, saying that Georgia law allows her to breastfeed in public. Before this story continues, it bears noting that Shukla is right: in Georgia, mothers are allowed to breastfeed in public, anywhere where mother and baby are legally allowed to be, according to US Legal. “The breast-feeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health. A mother may breast-feed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be.” “Officer Zipata” wasn’t buying Shukla’s explanation, however – that, or he didn’t like publicly being told that he was wrong. Either way, he continued to argue with Savannah – Savannah says he became “flustered” – and then began to publicly discuss her anatomy with her. “You just THINK you know what the law says and if your nipple becomes exposed I really don’t want to have to arrest you or you be arrested for being offensive… I can already see your areola. This isn’t like the first amendment where you can say something offensive.” Eventually Savannah grew tired of arguing with the deputy and decided to leave the situation, figuring that if he was that bent on arresting her, he would do so. He did not. Another Facebook user, identified only as “April the paralegal,” was there at the Piggly Wiggly with Savannah that day. She snapped the picture you saw above, as well as provided Savannah with moral support while the confrontation was going down. Even though she wasn’t arrested, Shukla was furious about the encounter, and not only took her complaint to social media, she also formally filed a complaint against the deputy through legal channels. On Monday, Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr publicly apologized for what the breastfeeding mom went through because of one of his deputies. “Our office does not condone these actions and will ensure all officers know and understand the law. On behalf of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to personally extend an apology to the woman involved, and we hope that she knows that these are not the opinions or practices of the office as a whole.” Further, he said that as a parent and as a grandparent, whose children and grandchildren were all breast-fed, he supports the right of Georgia moms to breastfeed in public without hassle. “I would like to personally extend an apology to the woman involved, and we hope that she knows that these are not the opinions or practices of the office as a whole.” Darr also promised that there would be “additional training” so that his deputies don’t hassle breastfeeding moms in the future. [Feature Image by FamVeld/Shutterstock]

More Adults Living With Parents Than Are Married, Study Finds

More adults are living with their parents than are married in what is shaping up to be a dramatic societal step away from the traditional, nuclear family, a new study from the Pew Research Center finds. “This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35,” Pew said in their findings. “Dating back to 1880, the most common living arrangement among young adults has been living with a romantic partner, whether a spouse or a significant other.” The peak of adults living together in a married relationship hit its peak around 1960, when 62 percent of adults aged 18-34 fit this classification. At the time, only one in five adults in that age range were still living with their parents. For first time in 130 years, more young people live with their parents than with a partner.https://t.co/BsT9UG29iQ pic.twitter.com/0Ew3fihSKm — Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) May 25, 2016 But that trend has been reversed: in 2014, the most recent year when fresh statistics were available, 32.1 percent of adults aged 18-34 were still living at home, while 31.6 percent “were living with a spouse or partner,” Pew said, while 14 percent live alone or with one or more roommates. More Young Adults Living With Parents Than a Romantic Partner https://t.co/p6U6iPoSy9 — Jim Bourke (@JimBourke) May 25, 2016 The Pew study noted, however, that this is not the first time that more adults were still living with their parents; in 1940, as America saw the Great Depression coming to an end, 35 percent of adults aged 18-34 were still living at home versus 32.1 percent today. The difference now, Pew found, “is the relative share adopting different ways of living in early adulthood, with the decline of romantic coupling pushing living at home to the top of a much less uniform list of living arrangements.” The trend is more likely for men than women, the study found; in fact, “living at home with mom and/or dad has been the dominant living arrangement since 2009.” In 2014, 28 percent of men aged 18-34 were married, to 35 percent who still lived with their parents; a four-to-five ratio. Women in that age range, however, are more likely to be married or living with someone while in a romantic relationship (35 percent) than to still be living with their parents (29 percent). While the number of adult children staying at home was not an all-time high for whites, it was for African-Americans and Hispanics. For blacks, 36 percent of those aged 18-34 were still living with their parents, compared to 17 percent who lived with a “romantic partner.” Among Hispanics, the numbers were 30 percent living in a marriage or co-habitation, with 36 percent still living at home. Why Are More Adults Still Living With Their Parents? Granted, there are always exceptions to the norm: some children may have disabilities to which their parents can uniquely care for. It has also not been unheard of for victims of divorce or some other tragedy to move back in with their parents for a period of time. But the numbers documented by Pew show a growing trend. So, what is behind it? Pew analyzed the reasons, and found that the most likely is “the postponement of, if not retreat from, marriage,” noting that the median marrying age has “risen steadily for decades.” Another Pew study found that one out of every five adults age 25 and older has never been married. Another reason is employment and wages. “Employed young men are much less likely to live at home than young men without a job, and employment among young men has fallen significantly in recent decades,” Pew said adding that “the Great Recession” of 2008 was a contributing factor for young men not moving out on their own. But at the same time, this trend of adult children staying with their parents preceded the 2008 economic collapse. Adult children are not growing up and moving out of the house, Pew Research finds. [Image by Shutterstock]Education is another major factor in determining whether young adults will stay with their parents, or move out: of those who had not graduated with a Bachelor’s degree, 36 percent were still living with their parents, while 27 percent had moved out. “Young adults with a college degree have fared much better in the labor market than their less-educated counterparts, which has in turn made it easier to establish their own households,” Pew stated. What do you think? Is it good, or bad, that more adults are still living with their parents? And, why? Be sure to give us your thoughts in the comments section below. [Image by Shutterstock]

Oregon School District Bans Santa Claus In Order To Promote Religious Tolerance

Administrators at an Oregon school district might find themselves on Santa Claus’ Naughty List this Christmas as the Portland-area district has banned the jolly old elf, citing the need for religious tolerance, KATU (Portland) is reporting. Beth Graser, communications director for the Hillsboro School District, said a memo was sent to teachers this week directing them to refrain from overt religious displays this Christmas season. That includes no depictions of Santa Claus. “You may still decorate your door or office if you like, but we ask that you be respectful and sensitive to the diverse perspectives and beliefs of our community and refrain from using religious-themed decorations or images like Santa Claus.” The #Hillsboro School District has banned #Christmas decorations. https://t.co/GaN6uylhe7 pic.twitter.com/V7NqVrlTn7 — KEZI 9 NEWS (@KEZI9) November 30, 2016 Graser wants it made clear that the Santa ban applies only to teachers and staff. Kids are not forbidden from talking about Santa Claus or wearing clothes bearing his image, or anything like that. “It really went out as a notification to staff, not even parents, just to make sure they are being sensitive and thoughtful as they enter the holiday season.” It is not clear, as of this writing, if any non-Christian children, or parents of non-Christian children, had complained about Santa Claus being portrayed in Hillsboro schools. Regardless, some parents are outraged. One parent, who asked not to be identified, said that in his or her day, the idea of a school banning Santa Claus would have been unthinkable. “I’m from that generation where we believe in Santa, and my kids believe in Santa, and they should be able to celebrate it.” Parent Jason Ramirez says that a distinction needs to be made between overt religious propaganda and a celebration of tradition and folklore. “If you’re going to put a giant cross on the window that’s one thing, but I think Santa Claus is more folklore and American history than a religious symbol at this point.” Ramirez is right, by the way. The Santa Claus as Americans know and love him didn’t even exist until 1823, when poet Clement Clarke Moore took the legend of Saint Nicholas, a 4th-Century Christian saint inextricably linked with gift-giving, and turned him into a “jolly old elf” who brought gifts to good children at Christmas (to be fair, Moore’s version of Santa is itself drawn from similar European traditions of a benevolent figure who brings gifts at Christmas). The image of a fat, bearded Santa in red and white came about largely due to the work of political cartoonist Thomas Nast in the 1880’s. Is Santa Claus a religious symbol or a symbol of folklore? [Image by RTRO/Shutterstock] Nevertheless, Santa Claus is inextricably linked to Christmas, so as far as Hillsboro schools are concerned, he’s a Christian religious symbol and thus, isn’t welcome in a public school. How to deal with Santa Claus is one of many sticky religious issues faced by public schools across the country. Administrators must weigh federal law, which says they must not promote a religion in keeping with the Constitution’s ban on government promoting religion; allow children to express their own religions and cultures, and still acknowledge and respect the cultures and traditions of the schools’ communities. It’s a tough balancing act, and often, parents will complain that their children’s schools went the wrong way in trying to keep that balance. For example, last year in Minnesota, according to this report by the Inquisitr, Blaine High School’s “holiday” program included a Ramadan song that mentions Allah, the god of Islam, outraging several parents. Do you think Hillsboro School District made the right decision by banning Santa Claus from the staff’s office decorations and teacher’s classroom decorations during the holiday season? [Featured Image by Aldo Risolvo/Shutterstock]

Edible Pot Is Sending Colorado Kids To Emergency Rooms In Record Numbers

Edible marijuana is sending Colorado kids to emergency rooms in alarming numbers, thanks largely to parents not keeping their stashes out of reach of kids, as well as attractive packaging that makes kids think they’re getting into candy, KWTV (Oklahoma City) is reporting. Back in 2014, Colorado legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Before that time, the number of kids admitted to emergency rooms in the Centennial State each year averaged about 1.2 per 100,000; now that number has nearly doubled, to 2.3 per 100,000. The problem is marijuana-infused food products (called “edibles” in the industry), explains Dr. Zane Horowitz, medical director of the Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University. “Before, when marijuana came in leaf form and was rolled into cigarettes or joints, children didn’t really eat those things. But when you have cookies and brownies and gummy bears, and tomato sauce and everything else made from marijuana derivatives, it looks just like food but it’s laced with a drug that can create a very scary experience for a 2-year-old.” Pot-infused edibles raise concerns in Colorado https://t.co/ebFn8eX3OA pic.twitter.com/YZ9mbIUj9P — Costello, King & Asc (@CostelloKingAc) July 26, 2016 The vast majority of pot edibles are fashioned to resemble candy or other sweet treats: brownies, gummy candies, lollipops, chocolate bars, and the like, says Dr. Genie Roosevelt, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist with the Denver Health and Hospital Authority. “Edible marijuana products look very much like a regular food product, and so they’re very attractive to kids because it’s candy and baked goods, and also very palatable.” There are a couple of problems with this situation. First, even adults don’t always understand edibles when it comes to dosing, according to a 2014 report in the Cannabist. An entire chocolate bar, cookie, or brownie may have enough THC (the psychoactive component in marijuana) for multiple doses and is not intended to be eaten all at once. Adults who have consumed too much edible pot have found themselves having heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, intense paranoia, and other undesirable effects. However, it is impossible to fatally overdose on marijuana, and the effects dissipate over time. Second, kids’ bodies metabolize foods differently than adults do. So while an adult who eats too much pot is probably in for a rough few hours, at worst, for kids the situation is much worse, says. Dr. Roosevelt. “We have seen some very sick children who have been put on a ventilator and admitted to the ICU. It sedates them so much that it interferes with their ability to breathe.” Some Colorado kids have gotten into adults’ marijuana edibles and wound up in the ICU. [Image via Aryut Tantisoontornchai/Shutterstock] The problem can be mitigated by adults being responsible with their stashes and keeping them where kids can’t get to them, says Dr. Roosevelt. “Lock your stash away. Lock your medicines away. Lock your liquor away. Lock your rat poison away. You have to make your house child-proof. I can’t imagine that any parent, even if they’re a cannabis proponent, would think it’s a bad idea to protect their child from inadvertent exposure.” Colorado law requires marijuana edibles to be packaged in child-proof packaging, but kids have shown to be resourceful and can often figure out how to get around that. Roosevelt would like to see pot manufacturers make edibles look less like candy and other treats and, thus, less attractive to children. Further, Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), would like to see pot edibles packaged in single-serving sizes, so both adults and kids wouldn’t have the chance to eat too much. The findings showing the increase of kids in Colorado emergency rooms due to accidental ingestion of marijuana were published on July 25 in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Was A Couple Billed $40 To Hold Their Baby? Father Explains Real Reason For Skin-To-Skin Hospital Charge

A hospital bill has gone viral after a new dad Ryan Grassley posted it to Reddit along with the caption, “I had to pay $39.35 to hold my baby after he was born.” The bill, which shows that Ryan and his wife, Lidia, were charged nearly $40 for skin-to-skin contact immediately after Lidia’s cesarean section, was quickly shared through social media and garnered outrage everywhere. Welcome to America: A Hospital Charged A Mom $40 To Hold Her Own Baby After Giving Birth – https://t.co/KSKommisg6 #p2 #tcot — Terrell Lewis (@SgBz) October 4, 2016 Wtf!? Hospitals charge mothers for skin to skin contact after giving birth to their babies!? — Annie, are you okay? (@hanalulu12) October 4, 2016 Woman billed $39.35 to hold baby after he was born…. an absolute disgrace. Babies NEED skin to skin contact https://t.co/KkZwHnUkjT — ThePolitical Port (@PoliticalPort) October 4, 2016 Which is also crazy because skin-to-skin contact is something babies HAVE to have for health benefits. It's huge for development — Alshon LaBundy (@muggy817) October 4, 2016 People around the world have been quick to blast the hospital fee for being ridiculous and greedy, but others are pointing out that there are actually reasons for the perplexing hospital charge. The new dad explained on Reddit that the couple were still in the operating room when the nurse let him hold their new baby on his wife’s neck and chest. He said that the nurse even took pictures with his camera for the new parents. Everyone involved in the process was great, and we had a positive experience. We just got a chuckle out of seeing that on the bill. Others on Reddit were also quick to help explain the fees. One Redditer pointed out that the wording is generally simply a part of the documentation for hospitals. “At this point, when you make skin to skin contact, your baby is well enough to not need any more immediate medical interventions at that time and can be held by the parent,” one reader who works for a hospital pointed out. “This all goes along with Apgar scoring and stuff like that.” Indeed, another reader pointed out that the time in the operating room would otherwise be billed as just general C-section time, since the team and equipment were all still being used. “It’s minutes. Divide by 79 and it comes out to the same rate as the skin to skin,” Reader Mike Hawks explained. “So no, OP didn’t get charged extra for this, they just broke it out separately for some sort of documentation reason.” “My bet is that had she not done the skin-to-skin contact it would have been listed as 80 minutes of C section,” he added. Another reader, a labor and delivery nurse, explained that extra staff is generally needed for the procedure when the mother is still on the operating room table. “I didn’t know that hospitals charged for it, but doing ‘skin to skin’ in the operating room requires an additional staff member to be present just to watch the baby,” she wrote. “‘Skin to skin’ in the OR is a relatively new thing and requires a second Labor and Delivery RN to come in to the OR and make sure the baby is safe.” The new dad confirmed to Babble that his wife’s arms were still tied to the operating table when he held their new baby against her for skin-to-skin contact, and that the nurse was right there to be sure nothing happened to the baby. Skin-to-skin contact has been proven to be very beneficial to newborn babies. Dr. Raylene Phillips explained in “Uninterrupted Skin-to-Skin Contact Immediately After Birth” in the medical journal Newborn & Infant Nursing Reviews that this time between a new mother and her baby is so important that it should be standard procedure for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries. Please RT? #moms #babies #parenting #dads C-Section Babies Deserve Skin-to-Skin Bonding, https://t.co/nkgI89tIaO pic.twitter.com/pzyaFOl2Yo — Moms Magazine (@MomsMagazzine) October 1, 2016 Skin-to-skin contact promotes better breastfeeding, calmer babies, & can even help with milk production #WBW2016 https://t.co/vWtJpAJru5 — ROW Public Health (@ROWPublicHealth) October 1, 2016 Skin to skin during a leap can really calm things……..and it's not just for babies <3 pic.twitter.com/XIOSlSlvXW — TheWonderWeeks (@TheWonderWeeks) August 24, 2016 “Hospital protocols can be modified to support uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth for both vaginal and cesarean births,” the doctor advised. “There is good evidence that normal, term newborns who are placed skin to skin with their mothers immediately after birth make the transition from fetal to newborn life with greater respiratory, temperature, and glucose stability and significantly less crying indicating decreased stress.” Still, Ryan is annoyed he was charged $40 for the skin-to-skin time and has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay the bill, where he explained that he never meant to start a “witch hunt” for the hospital. I had to pay $40 to hold my baby https://t.co/kwONQ8DBuX — Daryl Hrdlicka (@thudling) October 4, 2016 The new dad said that he would use money raised to pay the “ridiculous” skin-to-skin portion of the bill and that any leftover money would go towards making sure the new couple didn’t have any more babies. Any money donated over the $39.35 will be put towards a vasectomy because I never want to go though these sleepless new baby nights again. As of Tuesday evening, $15 had been raised. [Primary Image by Occupy Breastfeeding on Facebook]

Mom Karen Alpert 'Confronts' Stranger Who Disciplined Son In Epic Open Letter

When mom Karen Alpert took her 4-year-old son Holden and his friend to the playground, she never expected that another mom would have the audacity to discipline her son. Holden was so eager to take over the monkey bars that he cut in ahead of others without waiting his turn, and another mother saw it and asked him to stop. “He’s a nice, sweet kid, but he really wasn’t stopping to think about this other child,” Alpert admitted to Good Morning America. Karen Alpert, author of the book I Want My Epidural Back, said she saw it going on in the corner of her eye and noticed the other woman reacted before she had a chance to. To that, Alpert had a clear message that ended up going viral. “Thank you.” “You walk over, and you’re so angry at them for doing that instead of thanking the other parents for helping,” Alpert said when describing why she penned this now epic blog post on her blog BabySideburns. Here’s how the open letter started, and you’ll see right away why it has won the hearts of parents everywhere. “Dear stranger who disciplined my kiddo at the playground today, Woah woah woah, lemme get this straight. So today your daughter was trying to do the monkey bars? Okay, got it. And my kid was trying to do the monkey bars too? Simple enough. But since your kiddo is new to the monkey bars and takes forever and sometimes gets scared and stops right in the middle, my son had no choice but to go past her and sometimes bump her a little and she would fall and be all sensitive and start crying? Hmmm. Alrighty then. Now before I continue, I just want to say that yes, I know I should have been there when this all went down, but unfortunately I was on the other side of the playground with my son’s friend who was crying. So no, I wasn’t there, but does that give you a right to discipline my kiddo? Does that give you the right to talk to him sternly and tell him to knock it off? Does that give you the right to act like you are the person in charge when he is actually MY child? Ummmm, yes. YES IT DOES.” Karen Alpert makes her point throughout the rest of the post that children do not have the right to defy rules of basic courtesy just because their parent isn’t around to react, and she told GMA that she hopes her post will give more parents the courage to step up and take on a more authoritative role when it’s necessary (i.e. in the face of a misbehaving child). To date, it appears that other parents are getting that message as Alpert’s post has been shared on Facebook more than 28,000 times as of this post. It has also received 374,000 likes, 61 recommendations on Google+, 1,081 shares on Twitter and 815 on Pinterest. Most of the commenters were thrilled with the rug-pull that Karen Alpert threw their way, fearing at first that the mom of two was going to be like a “typical” modern parent and adopt the “my child is a special little snowflake, how dare you” approach that has become so common in 2016. With many parents afraid of disciplining their own children, it’s only natural that one would give pause when it comes to disciplining someone else’s, but it’s the position of Karen Alpert that other parents not only can, but should call another child on the carpet regardless of emotional proximity in the relationship. That’s because “even if you aren’t his parent, you are the adult,” Alpert writes, adding this means “you are smarter than he is.” “And yeah,” she adds, ” I know there are probably a-holes out there who would be all pissy about some stranger getting mad at their kiddo, but not me.” New post: ”
‘Because even if you aren’t his parent, you are the adult’: Mother THANKS stranger for disciplining h… https://t.co/BLegClF2xX — Lee Levy (@thekingleelevy) May 28, 2016 What about you, readers? Would you be angry if you saw another adult disciplining your child, or would you take the Karen Alpert approach? Sound off in the comments section below. [Image via Alperts c/o Good Morning America]

Teen Marijuana Use Is On The Rise Since Legalization – At Least In Washington, New Study Finds

Teen marijuana use is on the rise in Washington state since legalization, and fewer Washington teens have a negative view of marijuana since legalization, a new study concludes. As Yahoo News reports, researchers at the University of California-Davis and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health have published a study that confirms what some legalization opponents have long suspected: that legalization has led to more teens using pot. More teenagers in Washington state are using marijuana since legalization. [Image by Axente Vlad/Shutterstock] Specifically, marijuana use among 13-14-year-olds in Washington increased by two percent since The Evergreen State legalized recreational marijuana use in 2015; and pot use among 15-16-year-olds increased by four percent. Further, it appears that legalizing marijuana has changed some teenagers’ opinions about the drug; negative perceptions of marijuana declined by 14 percent among the younger age group, and 16 percent among the older age group. Washington law allows for adults over the age of 21 to purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Similarly, adults are allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use, provided they are not in public view. Ostensibly, these laws are intended to keep legal pot out of the hands of teenagers; however, the news study seems to indicate that that has not been the case. Over in Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use, teenage marijuana use has either remained the same or even gone down, depending on whose numbers you choose to believe. Teen pot use in Colorado has either remained steady or even dropped, depending on whom you ask. [Image by Bruce Stanfield/Shutterstock] For example, Scientific American reported that teen pot use in Colorado has gone down since legalization, according to a survey by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Specifically, 21.2 percent of Colorado high school students surveyed in 2015 had used marijuana during the preceding 30 days, down from 22 percent in 2011. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012. “The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally.” Similarly, The Denver Post reported the same figures in July of this year. However, the Post compared those figures to 2013 numbers, which showed that in 2013, 19.7 percent of Colorado teens had admitted to smoking pot in the previous 30 days. That’s actually a 0.5 percent increase in reported teen pot use. But Larry Volk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, called that 0.5 percent increase “statistically insignificant.” Back in Washington, the purported increase in teen pot use has some pediatricians worried. Study author Magdalena Cerdá, writing in The Journal of the American Medical Association – Pediatrics, said that Washington, and other states that have legalized marijuana, should consider the impact their laws have on kids. “While legalization for recreational purposes is currently limited to adults, potential impacts on adolescent marijuana use are of particular concern.” The effects of marijuana on children, adolescents and teenagers remain unclear; because cannabis is a Schedule I Controlled Substance, meaning that the federal government has deemed it has “no medicinal value,” it is impossible for researchers to conduct clinically-controlled research studies on the effects of the drug on the adolescent brain. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that marijuana may have a damaging effect on teenagers’ developing brains, according to a 2014 NPR News report. Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, said that the teenage brain “streamlines” during adolescence, getting rid of redundant neural connections in order to make the brain smarter and more efficient. Cannabis use interrupts that process, she says. “It’s the absolute worst time [to use marijuana].” Do you believe that marijuana legalization will lead to more teen pot use? [Featured Image by Photographee.eu/Shutterstock]

'Stranger Danger': Kids Should Learn to Redefine This Term Since 93% of Abusers Are NOT Strangers to Kids, Report

There have been multiple cases of child kidnapping and child abuse all over the U.S. According to Child Rescue Network, one of the main factors why kids are failing to report their abusers is our general connotation of the term, “Stranger Danger.” “Stranger Danger” was created to give a heads up to children regarding their approach to people they do not know. 30 years ago, it was a warning that children should not approach nor talk to strangers in public. In 1981, the case of Adam Walsh terrified parents and the media. Adam Walsh was just 6-years-old at the time and he vanished from a shopping mall in Florida. Walsh’s mother, Reve, just left the boy for a couple of minutes and when she returned to fetch him, he was gone. Two weeks later, Adam’s severed head was found in a canal and up to the present, his body has not been recovered yet. It was not only in 2008 when the serial killer, Ottis Toole, was identified as the murderer. Though Toole was the official murderer identified by the authorities, True-crime author Arthur Jay Harris questioned this decision. In his interview with Uproxx, Harris said that the evidence that put Adam’s murderer to the court “is between poor and none.” Because of the inconsistent evidence, though Toole was already filed as Adam’s murderer, for many people, the case was left open. Child Abuser [Photo by iStock]But, decades after Walsh’s disappearance happened, the realm of child abuse has changed. There were missing kids, but what most are not aware of is the fact that abuse now happens domestically. According to the Center for Disease Control, 93 percent of victims of abuse personally knew their abusers. The center also noted that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are ually assaulted by the time they reach 18. This is where the “Stranger Danger” term becomes problematic. When parents teach kids this term, this gives them an idea that only “strangers” can harm them. When they are hurt by someone they know and trust, it is a lot harder for them to speak up. Aside from the trauma they had to endure, child victims’ association to “Stranger Danger” does not help them in truly accepting the fact that they were hurt by someone familiar, a person who was not supposed to be a “stranger.” “The fact is that “Stranger Danger” has created ineffective lives of fear while still leaving millions of children abused. Empowerment, not fear is the answer. Stranger Danger Concept [Photo by iStock] HOW TO BEAT STRANGER DANGER Though this is currently the general notion on “Stranger Danger,” parents can help kids open their understanding on abuse by following an open communication line with them. According to CNR, parents should be able to give their children the ability to distinguish people they could trust. In case they were victimized, children should be able to make the best decisions when these situations happen. Parents should also encourage their kids to not keep secrets. A simple rule saying, “No, don’t keep secrets from mom and dad,” should be a good starting point. Parents could also implement a “family code word.” This works well when kids would need to be left alone or would need to be picked up by someone they do not know. If they should be welcoming a baby sitter, kids should ask for the “family code word” before the person comes inside the house. Lastly, it is important for parents to inform kids that there are “bad guys” outside and inside the house and they should never be scared to tell their parents if anything happens to them. [Photo by iStock]

Employees At Pennsylvania Day Care Made Kids Cuss On Camera, Parents Are Outraged [Video]

Employees at a day care center in Allentown, Pennsylvania were caught on video making kids say naughty words on camera, and now both the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and the police would like a word, The Express-Times is reporting. Parent Jhanee Ivy said she became aware of a video of small children – who appear to be between the ages of two and four years old – at Creative Minds Daycare Academy being coached into cussing on camera. She said some friends of hers were sharing it, treating like a joke. But she Ivy didn’t find it funny at all; she posted the video on Facebook, along with her thoughts about the situation. [WARNING: The video below contains strong language and may be disturbing to some viewers.] For those who would prefer not to watch the video: the camera pans to several small children, and a female voice can be heard saying, “What are they?” The children answer by saying things like “an ugly b***h” or “a f*****g b***h.” Speaking to WFMZ (Allentown), Ivy said that she told her friend that there’s nothing funny about the video. “As soon as she sent me the videos, I immediately called her back and told her that wasn’t funny, and she is working at a facility with children that don’t belong to her, and the parents are trusting her, and it’s not OK to do that.” Isla Millan, the mother of one of the children in the video, didn’t find it funny, either. “I was disgusted. I was upset. I felt embarrassed, more just surprised, also, because I never thought something like this would happen to my child.” Millan says that when she tried to talk to her daughter about the video, the little girl cried. She has since pulled both of her children out of the day care. Ivy said she called the day care to let them know how upset she is about the video, and also informed staffers there that she would be putting the video up online. She says she did so because she wanted other parents to know what was going on at Creative Minds so they could decide whether or not they wanted their kids there. Ironically, now it seems as if some people are more upset with Ivy for posting the video than they are with whomever made it in the first place. She says that other parents have told her she’s wrong for posting the video. “Shame on the PARENTS who are saying I’m wrong, because they’re protecting the WOMAN BEHIND the camera. She is a grown woman older than I am, she knows right from wrong! And common sense says that you DON’T teach toddlers that type of behavior. It isn’t funny.” A WFMZ reporter tried to contact the staff at Creative Minds for comment. The person who answered the phone said that the worker has been fired, but declined to comment further. And when WFMZ tried to contact the fired worker, a person who identified their self as a family member of the worker also declined to comment, but did say that the former worker was so upset by the situation that she required medical attention. It’s not just parents and the media who don’t find the video funny: Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski sent a tweet saying he was disgusted by the situation. This is horrible…the city sent investigators their yesterday with DHS Daycare kids encouraged to curse on… https://t.co/yLHexFBGhk — Ed Pawlowski (@Ed_Pawlowski) October 8, 2016 In addition to an ongoing investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, the Allentown Police Department is also investigating the video of the cussing children. [Feature Image by Pete Panham/Shutterstock]