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Updated Feb 17, 2014 - 9:43 am

Local expert concerned about America’s attitude toward marijuana

PHOENIX — One local expert has said America’s changing attitudes toward marijuana may be hurting our kids.

We’ve heard phrases like “Just Say No” for years, “but right now, society is sending a ‘yes’ message, and it’s a confusing time,” said Leslie Bloom of DrugFreeAZ.org

Bloom said that kids are getting a message that marijuana use is ok. She said that pot could lead to harder drugs and it can even hurt a child’s intelligence.

“Researchers at the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which is associated with the National Institute of Health, have stated that it impacts a child’s and a teen’s IQ by as much as 80 points,” Bloom said. “If you’re an average-performing student, that’s going to drop you into the lower third, and you’re not going to recover.”

She said that if we want to steer kids away from pot, America needs to change its message and kids’ attitudes.

“If they have a strong anti-drug attitude and they know it’s dangerous and risky, usage is low,” said Bloom. “The University of Michigan has studied this for decades.”

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