Marijuana far from ‘harmless'

REPORTED drug cases are on the decline in the Warwick area but there are fears marijuana - our drug of choice - is perceived to be a safe option.

Total drug offences reported for the area in the 2009/10 period have dropped from 639 the previous year to 610.

But people appear to be to more likely to smoke a joint than dabble with any other drug, with Drug-Arm AOD clinical worker Ben Reynolds saying close to half of clients have admitted to a problem with the drug.

Mr Reynolds acknowledged there was a perception marijuana was not a harmful drug, despite an abundance of research which supported arguments to the contrary.

He urged people not to consider marijuana as a "harmless" drug.

"People who smoke cannabis are four times more likely to develop lung cancer than smokers," he said.

"Marijuana has also been known to contribute to a variety of mental health conditions like schizophrenia and paranoia.

"It has also been known to affect people's cognitive abilities like concentration and motivation."

Drug Arm statistics for 2011-2012 suggest cannabis was the drug of choice for Warwickites, with 42% of clients having reported that cannabis was a drug of concern for them.

"Alcohol was reported as the second largest drug of concern with 33% of clients saying they had issues with it," Mr Reynolds said.

Amphetamines were next in line, with 14% of people reporting it as a drug of use and codeine, ecstasy, tobacco and cocaine all reported at 3%.

Men were far more likely to seek help for a drug problem, with almost three quarters of the Drug Arm clients being male.

The majority of clients (48%) were aged between 26 and 40 years old and just 14% ticked the 41-60-year-old box.

Teenagers in the 13-18 years old brackets made up 15% of the client base.

If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol, call Drug-Arm on 4661 9734.


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