Rise of Prescription Drugs and Marijuana Abuse in Charlevoix County

The Bay Area Substance Education Services (BASES) Inc. in Charlevoix warned residents that local prescription drug abuse and marijuana use are on the rise, according to BASES executive director D. Scott Kelly.

Findings from Kelly’s program called “Drug Use Trends in Charlevoix County” have shown that more high school students are engaging in marijuana use than cigarettes smoking. Partly due to medical marijuana laws, kids’ perception on the dangers of marijuana has decreased. In 2008, Michigan approved its medical marijuana program and is now one of the 16 states which have adopted such policy.

marijuanaAnother contributing factor to the increase in prescription drug abuse and marijuana use is the availability of such substances online. Prescribed medications and synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 and Spice are readily available for purchase online.

“We had a kid come in, saying he could buy some ‘stuff’ online for $50, and then ‘flip’ it for $700,” Kelly recalled. “Synthetics create all kinds of legal, political and health issues.”

The program, which was initiated by the BASES executive director, aimed to help parents and concerned citizens understand the trends that kids get into as far as prescription drugs and marijuana abuse are concerned. They were also taught about the dangers of addiction that could lead to psychological problems and the treatments that can help those who become victims of abuse.

Kelly, who is one of the co-founders of BASES, also suffered from alcohol addiction during his college years. He has remained sober since 1984 after enlisting in an alcoholism treatment program. Today, he is one of the resource persons of their program and is currently working on his master’s degree in counseling. He also works as a relapse prevention specialist and as an advanced addiction counselor for their organization.

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