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Study on Parental Marijuana Use

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Published On: August 01, 2001          Updated On: April 13, 2002
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

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Study on Parental Marijuana Use

On July 31, 2001 The Associated Press reported that parents who once used marijuana are about three times as likely to have children who use the drug, according to a government study.

The study by the Department of Health and Human Services was based on 9,463 surveys of parents and children conducted between 1979 and 1996 by federal researchers.

``The study points out, once again, the power of parents to help their children stay healthy and drug free,'' said Joseph Autry, director of the department's office on drug abuse.

``It found that parent's attitudes and drug use history — whether a baby boomer or not — had an effect on their children's likelihood of marijuana and other drug use.''

The study found that children mirror their parents in other ways. Parents who felt that taking marijuana wasn't risky tended to have kids who felt the same way.

But researchers also concluded that an increase of drug use in the 1990s can't be blamed on baby boomer parents.  The percentage of parents who had used drugs doubled from 1979 to 1994, but most of the increase occurred in the 1980s, according to the study.

``What we found is that you can't blame the increases in drug use in the mid-1990s on the baby boomer parents,'' said Mark Weber, a department spokesman. Researchers are not certain what caused the spike in the 1990s, he said.

Different studies have shown that marijuana use among youth increased in the 1990s by almost 13 percent.

The new study also found evidence of other factors in marijuana use. Delinquent behavior, drinking and dropping out of school were all strongly associated with marijuana use.

On the Net: HHS: http://www.samhsa.gov

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