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Home-grown drugs: A rising menace in triggering deadly blasts and drug addiction

A grow-house is a place used for the production of marijuana indoors. Despite being a risky proposition, marijuana cultivation is often done in residential areas to avoid the police and to create more potent drugs that can fetch some quick money for the dealers. One may recall the popular and award-winning T.V. series “Breaking Bad” or “Weeds,” which showed how the whole thing works and also throws light on its dangerous repercussions. 

In the last one year, the United States has witnessed a number of fatal accidents due to indoor marijuana farms. According to the media reports, more than 30 people were injured in Colorado in 2015, from an explosion resulting from hash oil, a marijuana extract. This year, in September, a firefighter lost his life when a marijuana grow-house exploded in Bronx, New York. Apparently, a gas leakage led to the fatal explosion. More such incidents have been reported across American states, indicating the extent of the problem.

To help marijuana plants grow better, indoor marijuana farms, sometimes, use carbon dioxide generators that use natural gas, propane or butane to power them. Therefore, growers can end up manipulating construction to include heat sources, fuel sources, flammable liquids and insulation. The house where the recent explosion took place had sealed windows with parts of the house being insulated. It was also full of combustible items such as grow lamps and liquid fertilizer vats.

Risk of marijuana blasts higher in states that have legalized the drug

The incident, which earlier seemed to be an exception, is now proving to be the norm. Since nearly half the U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, it is difficult to estimate how many of these labs actually exist in the country. Further, experts from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), warn that the risk of such incidents could be higher in states which have legalized marijuana, simply because people now have easy access to the plant.

Rising substance use problem in the U.S.

For the U.S. society already struggling with drug abuse, these growing incidents can only spell further disaster. Among teenagers and young adults, these practices can be driven by curiosity or the need to get a quick fix. People investigating such crimes have cautioned that those who grow marijuana indoors, often, simply read the process on the internet, and usually overlook the complexities involved, leading to irreparable harms.

As per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), marijuana is the most common illicit drug in America. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), marijuana use was most popular among people aged 18-25 years, with 19.6 percent using it in a month prior to the survey. Moreover, 7.4 percent of youngsters aged 12-17 years reported marijuana use during  the same period.

Looking at the dangers of marijuana use among children, ATF’s fire investigation and arson enforcement division chief Billy Magalassi said, “Kids are curious but they’re dealing with things that are very dangerous.”

Though recent studies have shown that there is a decrease in drug abuse among the young adults, marijuana use is still high in this age group. This is because a majority of users are unaware of the dangerous effects of the drug. Studies have shown that an extensive use of marijuana is harmful with effects ranging from impaired short-term memory, insomnia to chronic cough or cardiovascular disease.

Fighting drug abuse problem

The war on drugs cannot be won by policies or the authorities alone. People need to be aware of the harms that various drugs can cause. However, it is more important to report any suspicious activity which could indicate illegal drug activity, just as in the case of the Bronx accident.

If you feel that you or a loved one is becoming dependent on drugs, you must get in touch with drug treatment centers spread across the U.S. You may  call the 24/7 Recovery Helpline for Drug and Alcohol Addiction at 855-441-4405 to know about various drug rehab centers. You can also chat online with a representative who can guide you to the best addiction treatments centers.


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