Morrow, L. (1996, December 9). Kids and pot: Marijuana use among teens is up, but baby-boomer parents (who know something about the subject) aren’t sure what to do. Time, pp. 26-31.
By the time teens reach age 17, 68% can buy marijuana within a day, 62% have friends who use marijuana, and 58% have been solicited to buy marijuana.
To the majority of Americans, the rise of teenagers smoking pot is not a major drug problem. Marijuana is often considered a less dangerous threat than other drugs of choice (heroin, metaphetamines, and even alcohol), since marijuana use does not threaten one’s life.
The usage problem is exacerbated by the ambivalent attitudes of parents who have experimented with recreational marijuana: 49% of boomer parents tried marijuana in their youth, 32% of kids think their parents used or tried marijuana, and 92% of parents said they would tell their teens about their own marijuana use.
Though many excuses and rationales are used for marijuana use, these arguments are dangerous for adolescents. Steve Sussman, a drug-abuse researcher and associate professor at the University of Southern California, explains:
[when you’re stoned] you don’t learn to cope with real life. You don’t learn how to experience life in real terms, to feel bad normally. Let’s say you smoked marijuana heavily from 16 to 26, then stopped. The way you process life events emotionally after that may be more like a 16 year old.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- How do you compare the danger of marijuana in comparison to crack and heroin?
- Why are attitudes so tolerant of recreational drug use? Why do you think parents are tolerant?
- If infrequent marijuana use does not lead to addiction or stronger use, is it so terrible?
- If you as a parent had for a time used marijuana recreationally, without any seriously damaging effects, would you admit that to your children? Why or why not?
- If parents do not set the example about drug use, then teenagers usually do not take strong stands against it.
- Marijuana is a dulling drug. Teenagers smoke pot to dull their pain; they don’t need to have their pain dulled, they need to learn from it.
Bum Jun Jeoung
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