Marijuana Legalization: The Impact and the Facts

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1 Marijuana Legalization: The Impact and the Facts Town Hall Meeting Wednesday October 14, 2015 Independence Middle School Scott Osiecki Director of External Affairs

2 The ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County: Established on July 1, 2009: Consolidation of the Cuyahoga County Community Mental Health Board and the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Cuyahoga County. Nearly 50 years of history. 18 Volunteer Members of the ADAMHS Board are appointed: 8 by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. 10 by the County Executive/County Council. 2

3 The ADAMHS Board: Government agency: 1 of 50 in the State Plan Develop Fund Manage Evaluate community-based mental health & substance abuse treatment and recovery services

4 ADAMHS Board Focus: Primary focus is to lead the Recovery Oriented System of Care: Service delivery for individuals living with mental illness and/or addictions that focuses first and foremost on clients and family members. Culturally appropriate. Delivered in an accountable, effective and efficient manner. Treatment for crisis situations and acute symptoms. Provide supports to truly help individuals recover.

5 Services: ADAMHS Board funds services to over 14,000 adults and children. ADAMHS Board does not provide direct services. Contract with over 50 provider agencies to deliver mental health and addiction treatment and recovery support services: People not covered by Insurance/Medicaid. Recovery Support Services not covered by Insurance/Medicaid to people covered or not covered by Medicaid: Crisis Stabilization Housing Vocational/Employment Peer Support Prevention Education Information and Referral Detoxification Clients Rights

6 Services: 24-Hour Suicide Prevention, Mental Health & Addiction Crisis & Information & Referral Line Available to Every County Resident at No Charge : Operated by FrontLine Service Inc. Mobile Crisis Team

7 Addiction Facts: Addiction to marijuana, heroin, cocaine, alcohol and other drugs, and even gambling, is a diagnosable brain disease. Addiction is just like any other chronic physical disease. It can be treated. Approximately 10% of all Ohioans will have a substance abuse problem or addiction sometime during their lifetime. Addiction can affect all people, regardless of race, religion or social economic background. 7

8 Official Position on Legalization of Marijuana May 27, 2015 The ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County opposes any attempts to legalize, promote, grow and sell marijuana for recreational purposes in the State of Ohio, and will lead and assist in efforts to defeat any actions to legalize marijuana including an Ohio Constitutional Amendment. This decision is congruent with the Board s efforts to prevent mental illness and addictions and ensure that recovery services are available. The Board believes that the use of marijuana is not benign -- which is consistent with major medical organizations -- as studies clearly outline the physical harm of marijuana including increasing the risk of psychotic disease by five times, and that adolescents are especially vulnerable to its many known adverse effects.

9 Official Position on Legalization of Marijuana In addition to the physical effects, the Board also believes that there would be ramifications on society, including exacerbating a current problem of employers not being able to hire candidates or retain employees because of failed drug tests, decreased adolescent perceptions of marijuana s harmful effects, and a potential increase of individuals developing addictions to marijuana and other drugs. The Board also believes that marijuana for medical purposes should be subject to the same research, consideration, and study as any other potential medicine, under the standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

10 How did Board Develop this Position? Cross-section of Board staff met internally to develop recommendation to the Board: Proposed Ohio Constitutional Amendment. Pros and cons of the legalization of marijuana: Merits of medical marijuana based on research that has proven the benefits of smoked and/or ingested uses for some illnesses. Consensus was reached that the ADAMHS Board should oppose the amendment. Farid Sabet, MD, Chief Clinical Officer Consultant for the Board: Maintains his position against legalization of marijuana and endangering lives -- which is the same as all the major medical organizations -- as studies clearly point to the harm including increasing the risk of psychotic disease by five times. Recommendation presented to Board through Committee Process.

11 What the Board Considered: Reasons to Support the Marijuana Amendment: Prohibition and arrests have failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana. Government has tried to use criminal penalties to prevent marijuana use for over 75 years and yet: Marijuana is now used by over 25 million people annually. Cannabis is currently the largest cash crop in the United States. Marijuana is grown all over the planet. Issue 3 Proposes: Regulated, legal market in marijuana would reduce marijuana sales and use among teenagers, as well as reduce their exposure to other drugs in the illegal market. Legalized marijuana would reduce the flow of money from the American economy to international criminal gangs. Marijuana is not considered a lethal drug and is considered safer than alcohol.

12 What the Board Considered: Marijuana is not toxic to humans: Overdoses are uncommon. Not nearly as addictive as alcohol or tobacco. Unfair and unjust to treat marijuana users more harshly under the law than the users of alcohol or tobacco. Marijuana should be taxed to support beneficial government programs. Marijuana may have positive attributes: Medical value. Recreational use with relatively mild side effects. Out of 60 Peer-Reviewed Studies on Medical Marijuana Involving Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts from , 41 (68%) of the studies were pro medical marijuana use.

13 What the Board Considered: Reasons to Oppose the Marijuana Amendment: Potency of THC chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects is at least 3 times more toxic than it was in the 1970 s, due to improved growing practices. Extremely addictive for some people. Crime increases around legal retail locations. Northwestern University found: Marijuana users have abnormal brain structure and poor memory. Chronic marijuana abuse may lead to brain changes resembling schizophrenia. Younger the person starts using marijuana, the worse the effects become.

14 What the Board Considered: Reasons to Oppose the Marijuana Amendment: American Medical Association: Heavy cannabis use in adolescence causes persistent impairments in neurocognitive performance and IQ. Increased rates of anxiety, mood and psychotic thought disorders. Marijuana smoke is even more toxic than cigarette smoke. 483 chemicals in marijuana and when smoked or ingested have 4 to 5 times more tars and cancer causing agents than tobacco cigarettes. Regular users are hit with devastating lung problems as much as 20 years earlier than smokers. Respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have (daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis). Tar inhaled and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed by marijuana smokers is 3 to 5 times greater than among tobacco smokers.

15 What the Board Considered: Impaired health includes more than lung damage: Fatigue, paranoia, possible psychosis, memory problems, depersonalization, mood alterations, urinary retention, constipation, decreased motor coordination, lethargy, slurred speech, and dizziness. Even small amounts of marijuana can cause temporary sterility. Impact on the babies of women who smoke include birth defects, mental abnormalities and increased risk of leukemia in children. Short term effects include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, and loss of coordination. Heavy users may have increased difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing and using information.

16 How & Why this Position? Decimates many people's lives: Movies often portray marijuana users as harmless, fun-loving people who spend their time laughing and eating, but the reality is people are flunking out of school, losing their jobs, becoming frustrated because they can't concentrate and/or losing the love of their lives. Smoked marijuana as medicine is not promoted by major medical organizations but rather marijuana law reform groups. FDA concluded that no sound scientific studies have supported medical use of smoked marijuana for treatment.

17 How & Why this Position? Columbia University found: Residents of states with medical marijuana had marijuana abuse/dependence rates almost twice as high as states without such laws. Since certain states began permitting the dispensing of medical and recreational marijuana, adolescents perceptions of the harmful effects of marijuana have decreased, and marijuana use has increased significantly. An additional study in the Annals of Epidemiology found that, among youths ages 12-17, marijuana use rates were higher in states with medical marijuana.

18 Bottom-line... It s not good for your physical and mental health. Effects are especially bad for youth. Makes learning and work difficult. Message that it is OK because it is legal is harmful. Addictive for many. There will be an increase of people seeking treatment for addiction -- not only to marijuana but to other drugs as well as related mental health issues. Smoking marijuana has not been proven to be effective for medical issues.

19 1 in 4 People Have a Mental Illness or an Addiction to Alcohol or Other Drugs 3 in 4 People Know Someone with Mental Illness or an Addiction Treatment Works. People Recover.

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