Raise Awareness about Marijuana's Effects

It has never been more important for youth to understand the harmful effects associated with marijuana. Ocean State Prevention Alliance provides information from knowledgeable and reputable sources that discourages drug abuse while encouraging stricter laws and safer, healthier communites.

Use in Rhode Island

According to SAMHSA's 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Summary of National Findings, Rhode Island ranked second in the nation in the past year for marijuana use by 18 to 25 year olds. It was third in use by 12 year olds, and fifth among 12 to 17 year olds.

Health Concerns

Adolescent marijuana use may cause permanent damage to brain structure and functioning. Long-term, regular users who started before the age of 18 often experience changes in their brain's functioning that result in permanent cognitive deficits. When marijuana users are intoxicated, their working memory is impaired and they are more impulsive, less attentive, less motivated, and slower to make decisions.

The most persistent adolescent-onset cannabis users evidenced an average IQ decline of eight points from childhood to adulthood. Prevention and policy efforts should focus on delivering to the public the message that cannabis use during adolescence can have harmful effects on neuropsychological functioning.

Regular marijuana use in adolescence is known to be part of a cluster of behaviors that can produce enduring detrimental effects and alter the trajectory of a young person's life, thwarting their potential. Teen marijuana use is linked to school dropouts, other drug use, and even mental health problems.

Non-Medicinal Use

One study shows that approximately 74% of adolescents aged 14 to 18 in substance abuse treatment in Denver had used someone else's medical marijuana, and they reported using diverted medical marijuana a median of 50 times. Medical use among adolescent patients in substance abuse treatment is very common, implying substantial diversion from registered users. These findings support the need for strengthened policies, adequate regulations, and meaningful enforcement efforts that protect against diversion of medical marijuana and reduce adolescent access to marijuana.


Driving under the influence of marijuana multiplies risks for young drivers. Results from NIDA's Monitoring the Future 2007 survey indicate that more than 12% of high school seniors admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana in the two weeks prior to the survey.

Acute cannabis consumption is associated with an increased risk of a motor vehicle crash, especially for fatal collisions. This is the basis for campaigns against drug impaired driving, developing regional or national policies to control acute drug use while driving, and raising public awareness.

From the Expert

"High rates of marijuana use during the teen and pre-teen years, when the brain continues to develop, places our young people at particular risk. Not only does marijuana affect learning, judgment, and motor skills, but research tells us that about one in six people who start using it as adolescents become addicted."

  • Nora D. Volkow, M.D.
      National Institute on Drug Abuse Director

What Scientific and Medical Experts Say About Marijuana

Here are a sample of 30 studies and statements, of over 20,000 on the harms of marijuana.
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For Employers and Businesses

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Just for Parents!

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RI Legislative Summary

2016 Marijuana Legislation in RI

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