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Parents Warned on Pot's Toll

Health: Drug policy chief says the effects of pot on youths have been downplayed. An ad campaign is planned to alter perceptions.

September 18, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The nation's drug policy director warned parents Tuesday against trivializing the dangers of marijuana to their kids, warning them that more teens are addicted to pot than to alcohol or to all other illegal drugs combined.

Many parents and children have outdated perceptions about marijuana, said John Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. They believe marijuana is not addictive, that it's less dangerous than cigarettes or that it has few long-term health consequences.

In reality, more teens enter rehabilitation centers to treat marijuana addiction than alcohol or all illegal drugs combined, Walters said.

"Our effort is to correct the ignorance that is the single biggest obstacle to protecting our kids," he said as he announced an advertising campaign by his office and 17 education, public health, anti-drug and family advocacy groups.

The national effort will include advertisements on television, radio and print media, along with ones that will air in NFL stadiums and appear inside game programs. "For too long, our nation's teens have been getting the wrong message about marijuana," Walters said.

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