Which is Worse for Kids – Alcohol or Marijuana?

We recently found a thought-provoking article regarding the impact of alcohol and marijuana on kids. The article is written by a pediatrician who is often asked about the different impacts of the two substances on his patients.

Which would he rather his children use – alcohol or marijuana?

Of course his first answer was “neither”.  
But then he revealed his findings and came to a conclusion based on many factors, including the higher frequency of medical emergencies from alcohol poisoning of under-age consumers of alcohol.

Here are some other reasons that helped him reach his conclusion:

  • Every year more than 1,800 college students die from alcohol-related accidents. About 600,000 are injured while under alcohol’s influence, almost 700,000 are assaulted, and almost 100,000 are sexually assaulted. About 400,000 have unprotected sex, and 100,000 are too drunk to know if they consented. The numbers for pot aren’t even in the same league.
  • Researchers found that about 19 percent of delinquent males and 11 percent of delinquent females had an alcohol use disorder. Further, they found that even five years after detention, those with an alcohol use disorder had a 4.7 times greater risk of death from external causes, like homicide, than those without an alcohol disorder.
  • The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol use is a factor in 40 percent of all violent crimes in the United States, including 37 percent of rapes and 27 percent of aggravated assaults.
  • A 2013 case-control study found that marijuana use increased the odds of being in a fatal crash by 83 percent. But adding alcohol to drug use increased the odds of a fatal crash by more than 2,200 percent.

Read the entire article here.

No doubt parents are asked this same question by their own kids.  Especially when they hear that marijuana has become legal in several states for recreational use. Being armed with some facts is always important.  Including the reality that legal substances can be just as hazardous to a kid’s health and well-being as those that are outlawed.

NCADD Sacramento works with individuals and families to improve their parenting skills and communication with their kids.  In doing so, these parents are able to have conversations about the dangers of alcohol and drug use.  They are also able to share effective parenting tips with their friends and neighbors, increasing the positive impact on the community.

Learn more on the Strengthening Families page.