Concerned Parents Want National Dialogue on Pot and Violence

Merrifield, Virginia, UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 30, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Parents Opposed to Pot and Parents for a Healthy Colorado are calling for a national discussion on marijuana and violence. The frequent connection between marijuana, suicides and violent crimes must be examined.

We find evidence of at least 42 children's deaths related to caregivers' pot use since November 2012. At least four of the children died at the hands of their mother's marijuana impaired boyfriends. Neglect by marijuana using parents contributed to 24 of those deaths, especially in fires, hot cars and swimming pools. Whether neglectful or violent parents or mothers involved with violent boyfriends, most of those responsible for the deaths were marijuana addicts. These stories are profiled on the Parents Opposed to Pot 6-part blog series on child deaths related to marijuana.

Marijuana use was a factor in two recent murder-suicides of young women by their current or former boyfriends. The Virginia News Leader reported Zachary Ham, 19-year-old boyfriend of Jasmine Hayslett, 19, had been using marijuana since he was 13. Their 20-month-old son survives. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that when Rebekah Eldermire's ex-boyfriend shot her and turned the gun on himself, THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana) was the only drug in his system.

Evidence found in studies from around the world reveal that marijuana is addictive and that this hallucinogenic drug contributes to anxiety, paranoia and can lead to psychosis and violence. Regular marijuana users are 5 to 10 times more likely to attempt or contemplate suicide, according to recent studies.

Consistent marijuana use in adolescence is a strong predictor of intimate partner violence for those who are both victims and perpetrators, independent of alcohol use and other risk factors. These findings from a nationally representative, longitudinal sample were published by J. Reingle et. al in Journal of Interpersonal Violence, May 2012.

Parents Opposed to Pot and Parents for a Healthy Colorado state there won't be progress in the deterrence of child abuse and partner violence unless shelters and programs recognize substance abuse as part of the big picture. If national policy targets early drug prevention, including marijuana, there will be fewer abusive men. At the same time, deterring adolescent girls from using marijuana will keep them from being victimized and/or being neglectful parents in early adulthood.

Parents for Healthy Colorado, this week, released a video on how the new marijuana industry is marketing this drug and the confusing message that sends to our children.

Parents Opposed to Pot and Parents for a Healthy Colorado are non-partisan campaigns started by parents to educate about the devastating impact of marijuana on youth. Please visit and to learn more about our missions and how marijuana disrupts lives.

Media Contacts:

Kimberly Hartke 703-860-2711

Jen Shepherd 720-270-5022


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