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White House Office of National Drug Control Policy National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
Date:5/9/2008

TEEN 'SELF MEDICATION' FOR DEPRESSION LEADS TO MORE SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS,

NEW REPORT REVEALS

Depressed Teens Using Marijuana, Other Drugs to Relieve Symptoms

WASHINGTON, May 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Millions of American teens report experiencing weeks of hopelessness and loss of interest in normal daily activities and many of these depressed teens are using marijuana and other drugs, making their situation worse, according to a new White House report released today. The report, from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), reveals that marijuana use can worsen depression and lead to more serious mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and even suicide.

Research shows that some teens are using drugs to alleviate feelings of depression ("self-medicating"), when in fact, using marijuana can compound the problem. The report, released to coincide with May's Mental Health Awareness Month, shows a staggering two million teens felt depressed at some point during the past year, and depressed teens are more than twice as likely as non-depressed teens to have used marijuana during that same period. Depressed teens are also almost twice as likely to have used illicit drugs as non-depressed teens. They are also more than twice as likely as their peers to abuse or become dependent on marijuana. Marijuana use is associated with depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts.

"Marijuana is not the answer. Too many young people are making a bad situation worse by using marijuana in a misguided effort to relieve their symptoms of depression," said John P. Walters, Director, National Drug Control Policy. "Parents must not dismiss teen moodiness as a passing phase. Look closely at your teen's behavior because it could be a sign of something more serious."

Although marijuana use among teens has dropped by 25 percent since 2001, more teens use marijuana than all other illicit drugs comb
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SOURCE Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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