Watch CBS News

Drug Testing Company Sees Spike In Children Using Marijuana

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - A drug testing company says it's seeing a big spike in children using marijuana following the passage of Amendment 64.

The drug testing company, Conspire, says it's now being called on a weekly basis to test students in one Colorado school district instead of monthly. It's not just more students, but it appears they're using pot more often.

Prior to the passage of Amendment 64, drug testing companies typical would use a kit to for test for marijuana that reveals a false or positive result right on the spot. But now another kind of kit is more common. It's a laboratory analysis because they need to know how high someone is.

"I've seen a lot more people just walking down the street smoking (joints)," high school student Irie Johnson said.

"In high school it has kind of gotten out of hand," student Alaina Tanenbaum said.

Experts say the test results show that children are getting higher than ever with alarming levels of THC, marijuana's active ingredient, in their bodies.

"A typical kid (is) between 50 and 100 nanograms. Now were seeing these up in the over 500, 700, 800, climbing," Jo McGuire said.

McGuire is in a work group for the state's marijuana task force. She also works for Conspire, which is based in Colorado Springs.

Conspire now does drug testing in four school districts in El Paso County when students are suspected of being high while on campus. McGuire says 100 to 200 nanograms is typical of someone who recently used pot, or is a steady user who smokes once or twice a week. The 300 to 500 range is a daily user. But high levels of THC on a growing brain is unhealthy, according to McGuire.

"In the past we've used the term stoner or fried, and I'm now understanding why we use those terms, because you literally take your brain and you rob it from the ability to fire the way it's supposed to fire, so your memory is impaired," McGuire said.

Many of the teens that Conspire is testing, are also drivers, and they say those teens should not be behind the wheel of a car with such high levels of THC.

"Absolutely not. And if I was a parent and I was paying a car payment and I was paying insurance and I was putting a kid behind the wheel of a car to go to school, your sending that child out knowingly impaired, and we'll lose kids over it, unfortunately," McGuire said.

Some new studies that have been published say the risk of a car accident increases two-fold after someone consumes pot.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.