Marijuana Abuse by Teens
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Teen Marijuana AbuseTeen Marijuana Abuse

Teen marijuana abuse is not a new problem. It is an issue parents have been battling for years. Most parents hold strong beliefs that their teen should not use marijuana, but that message often gets muddled somewhere in the communication from parent to teen. According to a national survey, the vast majority of parents (98 percent) would be upset if they discovered teen marijuana abuse in their family. However, less than half (40 percent) of parents advised teens not to use the drug and just one in five (20 percent) emphasized the fact that it's illegal during the most recent dialog on the topic with their teens.

What are some of the risks specific to teen marijuana abuse?

Marijuana abuse, which is prevalent among youth, has been shown to interfere with short-term memory, learning, and psychomotor skills. Motivation and psychosexual/emotional development also may be affected. Early adolescent marijuana use increases the risk in late adolescence of not graduating from high school, delinquency, having multiple sexual partners, and not always using condoms. Such marijuana use can result in perceiving drugs as not harmful. This mindset often leads to long-term problems with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana as well as having friends who exhibit deviant behavior. In addition, teen marijuana abuse is related to later adolescent problems that limit the acquisition of skills necessary for employment and heighten the risks of contracting HIV and abusing legal and illegal substances.

It is important that parents communicate a clear no-use message about marijuana use early and often with their children. Parents can take comfort in knowing that their words are not falling on deaf ears. Studies show that the more teens hear about the risks of marijuana and other drugs at home, the less likely they are to fall into the downward spiral of teen marijuana abuse.

The survey also found that while 84 percent of parents believe marijuana can be addictive, only one in five parents (19 percent) communicates that message with their teen. Take note parents, marijuana is addictive. It is vital that you communicate this fact to your teen so that they understand the seriousness of teen marijuana abuse. Marijuana use and abuse creates serious consequences! About 100,000 people seek treatment for marijuana use each year.

According to the most recent figures from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, half of all teenagers try marijuana before they graduate high school. However, according to a recent poll, three-quarters of parents (74 percent) believe their teen has never smoked marijuana. Just 7 percent of those polled report knowing that their teen has smoked marijuana, 6 percent suspect their teen has smoked marijuana, and 12 percent don't know.

Teen marijuana abuse has climbed significantly this decade, and references to its use are pervasive in pop culture. Marijuana is by far the most frequently mentioned/depicted illicit drug in teens' favorite movies and songs, according to a recent study for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Today, the phrase "don't drink and drive" is often repeated, that same message virtually disappears where marijuana is concerned. Teen marijuana abuse creates serious consequences for many of todays youth. In some cities like Minneapolis, treatment admissions for marijuana abuse outnumber admissions for cocaine, and half of the patients are under the age of 18.

Marijuana Abuse by Teens
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