Some children smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol when still very young. By the time they graduate from high school, nearly 40% of all teens will have tried marijuana. Some later move on to more addictive substances.
We cannot assume that all children who smoke marijuana today will become heroin addicts tomorrow. But the danger does exist. And long-term studies of high school students show that few young people use other drugs without first having tried marijuana. Once a person can no longer get the initial “rush” he seeks, he begins to increase drug consumption or to look for something stronger.
Let’s face reality
In 2008, the National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported that daily marijuana use among college students had doubled, and use of cocaine and heroin was on the rise as well.
In the UK, a 2007 survey found that one percent of young people aged 16 to 25 had used heroin in the past year.
Young addicts in Ireland are diversifying their intake of drugs, with heroin just one of a cocktail, creating a polydrug dependence.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, in 2008 an estimated 16 million people worldwide used opiates—opium, morphine, heroin and synthetic opiates.