What are parents to do?
Unfortunately nowadays, dangers to adolescents (individuals between 10 & 19
years of age) don’t start and end in the playground or on the highway. The accumulated negative effects of living in this modern day and age for our young ones are overwhelming.
Just think, having to navigate through the constant menace manifested in smoking and getting stoned on marijuana. Many adolescents have not understood or prefer to ignore the message transmitted to them from day one about the perils inherent in this practice.
According to psychotherapist and author Amy Morin’s “Statistics on Teenage Marijuana Use,” we learn that “marijuana use is more widespread than alcohol use, and studies show that marijuana can have harmful effects on a teen’s developing brain.”
Ms. Morin expresses in her work that “people who use marijuana prior to the age of 12 are twice as likely to experience a serious mental illness compared to those who use marijuana for the first time at age 18 or older”; “in 2010, 21 percent of high school seniors used marijuana in the past 30 days, while 19 percent smoked cigarettes”; and that “marijuana accounts for 17 percent of admissions to treatment facilities in the United States, second only to opiates among illicit substances.”
Furthermore, Ms. Morin explains that marijuana is addictive because “about 1 in 6 people who start using as a teen and 25 – 50 percent of those who use it every day, become addicted to marijuana,” and points out that marijuana and teen driving do not mix due to the fact that it is “the most common illegal drug found in drivers who die in accidents (around 14 percent of drivers), sometimes in combination with alcohol or other drugs.”
The above-mentioned article goes on to point out that marijuana is the most common drug among teens; “more teenage girls use marijuana than cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and all other illicit drugs combined.” Another note made in the article explains that marijuana use may precede depression in that “research shows girls (ages 14-15) who used marijuana daily were 5 times more likely to face depression at age 21.” “Daily use in young women was associated with an over five-fold increase in the odds of reporting a state of depression and anxiety.”
Further, the article explains that marijuana offenses carry serious legal consequences. “Although the laws vary greatly by state and country, some regions impose very strict consequences for teenage offenders.”
In light of the perils adolescents are exposed to as declared above, parents need to openly and frankly talk to their children to alert them about the realities of smoking pot and the urgency of avoiding this menace at all cost.
School teachers, members of the clergy, coaches and other community actors are involved in containing the spread of marijuana use but parents are the first line of defense. We need to encourage parents to stand firm against the onslaught of those who claim that marijuana is innocuous. The task is not an easy one.