Tag Archives: marijuana

Talking to teens about pot now that it’s ‘cool’ in Washington

When I talk to my adolescent clients and their parents I am told that “everyone on Maui smokes weed.” I happen to know that statement is not true because I live on Maui and I do not smoke pot.  Frank Couch talks about why it is important to know your policy. It is not “just marijuana.”  You are putting a powerful substance on a brain that is still developing. Be informed.

Here’s a great piece from MyNorthwest.com.

Talking to Teens about Pot

What Does Marijuana Do to Your Brain?

Medical marijuana and the legalization of marijuana has brought up controversy in the recovery community.  Most intensive outpatient facilities will not treat people on medical marijuana because it is too difficult to monitor how the person is using the substance, amongst various other reasons. Marijuana addiction can be as equally devastating to the life of its victims. It just doesn’t do it in such an obvious way as other drugs or alcohol. Please read the article posted by Promises Recovery Center in Malibu California here for more information.

18 Facts About Drugs and Addiction

Drugs and addiction tend to go hand in hand.  Although not everyone who tries it will become addicted, many do and most of these will find it very difficult to stop using.  Everywhere we look, there is information about it, some saying why is it bad for you, while others give people a reason to use.

Here are some facts about drugs and addiction:

  1. Substance abuse in the USA accounts for around $180 billion dollars each year.  That is not counting the cost of alcohol or tobacco, just drugs usage.
  2. Children of addicts are 4 times more likely to become addicts than those whose parents are not users.
  3. Whilst one in ten people who drink will become hooked to alcohol, one or two uses of a drug such as Heroin can leave the user wanting more.
  4. Drug addicts who need cash for their next fix carry out 90% of muggings and thefts from property.
  5. Back in the 1890’s, when instances of Pneumonia and Tuberculosis were rife Heroin was marketed as a non-addictive cough suppressant.
  6. The term “Cold Turkey” is derived from the fact that detoxification can lead to the addict feeling cold and clammy.
  7. The term “kicking the habit” may come from the muscles spasms and jerky leg movements suffered by the person in detox.
  8. It is a disease, despite what many people think, and requires the correct treatment.
  9. Most people cannot just cut back or give up when they feel like it.  The very nature of the substance dictates that in the way that repeated use changes the function and the structure of the brain. Only around 2% of individuals actually seek help.
  1. It is as easy to become addicted to prescription drugs as it is to illegal substances – and these are pills that are prescribed daily by doctors and members of the medical profession. Learn more about prescription drugs and addiction
  2. Around 50% of US College students have used drugs or been binge drinking – 25% are medically classified as addicts.
  3. Around 25% of all Americans will suffer with this problem sometime in their lives.
  4. 16% of the total population of America meet the medical requirements for being classed as an addict.
  5. Out of more than 2 million US prison inmates, more than 1.5 million meet the medical requirements for addiction.
  6. Of the above only 11% receive treatment for their addiction whilst being in prison.
  7. Women and girls take less time to become addicted to drugs, illegal or prescription, and with less usage than males.
  8.  Teenagers that start drinking before the age of 15 are more likely to move on to drugs at some point.
  9. Around 85% of websites that advertise and sell controlled prescription drugs do not ask for a prescription, which just goes to show how easy it is to get hold of them.
  10. Addictions cannot be cured. The person can only be given help and support to cope with and manage this illness.

Credit to Hawaii Island Recovery.

Teen narrowly escapes death after smoking synthetic marijuana

My heart goes out to this family and other individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by drugs and alcohol. A common mistake parents make is minimizing adolescent marijuana use, as if it is “just marijuana.” Statistics show that early use of drugs and/or alcohol increases the odds of becoming an addict/alcoholic. Parental attitudes about drug use has a huge impact on whether or not kids use and continue to use drugs and/or alcohol.  If you know your child is a regular user, get them assessed by an addictions professional. Get them and the family into counseling. Educate yourself about adolescent addiction signs and symptoms. Start with the information at this link to a National Institute on Drug Abuse informational brochure.

Photo Credit: Fox 8 WGHP

For more about this Fox 8 WGHP news story, visit here.

After Legalization: teenagers and pot

This is fantastic information shared via Center for Advanced Recovery Solutions. –Debbie Bayer

Now that marijuana is legal in Washington State, will its use increase because it will be perceived as no big deal? Or will use go down because the taboo factor will be erased? Parents already face an uphill battle convincing their teens that marijuana poses risks to their health and well-being. Will legalizing marijuana increase the challenge?

Even before the vote to legalize, the majority of Washington high school students didn’t see much risk to trying marijuana a couple of times. But one of the biggest mistakes parents of teens can make is to believe that they no longer have influence on their kids. Even though it’s hard to believe, amidst all of the eye-rolling, foot-stomping and stone-walling that goes on in the homes of teenagers, parents are still the most influential role model.

Teens who believe their parents strongly disapprove of drug use are less likely to use drugs than are teens who don’t think their parents have such strong feelings. A 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that past month marijuana use was much less prevalent among youths (4%) who perceived strong parental disapproval for trying marijuana or hashish once or twice than among those who did not (33%).

As parents, educators and healthcare professionals, we don’t need to demonize marijuana to help our kids avoid it. As a therapist who works with parents of teens, I encourage parents to talk about marijuana similar to alcohol use: “while you are a teenager its unsafe, against the rules in our family and against the law.”

The teenage brain is still developing and vulnerable to harm from marijuana and alcohol, much of which can be avoided if kids wait until they are adults to begin using them recreationally. Further, for teenagers there has been no change in the legality of using marijuana – it is still illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to grow, sell or possess marijuana and the driving limit for youth under the age of 21 is zero.

If anything, the vote to legalize marijuana presents an opportunity for parents to speak to their teens about marijuana, alcohol and other drugs. Share your values, set expectations and reach out for help if you need it.

Not sure how to articulate your concerns about teens smoking pot? Here is what the research says about the risks that marijuana poses to teens and young adults.

  • Youth who smoke pot are about twice as likely to have lower grades (C’s, D’s, F’s) than students who don’t smoke.
  • A recent study showed that adults who had begun regular marijuana use as teenagers saw an average eight point decline in IQ by the time they were 38 years old. Interestingly, this same loss in IQ was not seen in those who did not begin marijuana use until their adult years.
  • Despite the assertion of many teenagers, marijuana is considered an addictive drug. In fact, among youth receiving substance abuse treatment, marijuana abuse accounts for the largest percentage of admissions. One Washington treatment center says that the see the highest incidence of people leaving AMA are those being treated for marijuana abuse. Frequent smokers may experience withdrawal symptoms including cravings, irritability and sleep problems.
  • The age at which a person begins using alcohol, marijuana and other drugs greatly affects their risk of becoming addicted to those substances, another reason to set firm expectations with your teen that they abstain from drug and alcohol use, at least before adulthood. Adults who first used marijuana before age 15 are about five times as likely to have a drug addiction as an adult than those who first used marijuana after age 18.

Read more about the warning signs of drug abuse on the CARES website.