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Research shows that research funds are wasted

In today’s Washington Post: Study Focuses On Marijuana Use by Teens

Researchers at the University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research [CESAR] recently developed a set of warning signs to spot teenage use of marijuana, a popular recreational drug that often leads to experimentation with other illegal substances, officials said.

The study, released in late July, based its findings on a statewide survey conducted two years ago. The warning signs and recommendations were applauded by state educators and juvenile services officials, who said the findings validate their long-held ideas about ways to detect drug use among teenage students.

Well, I figured that a comprehensive study based on a statewide survey, and two years of analysis by a crack university research center probably came out with some amazing stuff, so I rushed over to their site to learn the final NINE warning signs of early marijuana use: [drum roll, please]

  • Behaviors
    • Cigarette use before age 15
    • Alcohol use before age 15
    • 20 or more unexcused school absences
    • Drug arrest
    • Alcohol arrest
  • Attitudes/Opinions
    • Smoking marijuana is safe
    • Smoking cigarettes is safe
    • My parents think it’s okay to smoke marijuana
    • My parents think it’s okay to smoke cigarettes

That’s right. If your child has been arrested for drugs, that’s actually a possible warning sign that they might have experimented with marijuana! Whoa, I would have never thought of that!
If your child has any of the first five signs, then marijuana use may actually be the least of your problems.
Oh, and if your child has any of the last four “opinions” (and they actually share it with you) don’t break out the drug testing kit. Have a talk with them.
I don’t even want to know how much was spent on this.

“This kind of tool is critically needed, because research shows that early marijuana users are far more likely to go on to use harder drugs,” says CESAR director Eric Wish.

Of course, this is the usual misleading gateway statement that has no basis in causality (as is noted elsewhere in the CESAR web sites), yet the director of this research center is willing to sell it to the press anyway. And I wonder about a research director in this field who is listed as an Associate Professor (not Full Professor) in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Maryland. I’m also curious as to the field of his doctoral degree, and why it’s not listed in his university bio. Just wondering.

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