Unfortunately, the news on the popularity of marijuana keeps getting worse, not better.
Informed Families Blog
A 2016 survey found that about 10 million Americans vaped regularly. Nearly half of those were under the age of 35, with 18-24-year-olds the most frequent users. In 2018, over three million high school students and 570,000 middle school students reported they were using e-cigarettes, according to the CDC. And the trend is rising: In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that one in nine high school students said they had vaped in the past month.
Marijuana is now legal for recreational use by adults in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and for medical use in 34 others. Its growing acceptance may lull both parents and teens into thinking it’s a relatively harmless substance.
As marijuana use becomes legal in more states (although its use is still a federal crime), the long-standing stigma associated with the drug has begun to recede. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe. And it’s especially unsafe for teens and young adults.
With marijuana being legalized in more and more states, many teens now believe it's safe for them to use. But evidence shows it's not. Make sure you and your kids can separate fact from fiction when it comes to marijuana.
MYTH: It’s safer than alcohol
FACT: Alcohol and marijuana are both associated with serious problems, especially if used by teens and young adults under age 21 – when the brain and body are still rapidly developing.
MYTH: It’s okay to drive while high
FACT: After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of driver’s involved in crashes.
Is there a link between vaping and coronavirus? While experts say it’s impossible to say for sure, according the National Institute of Drug Abuse the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who vape or smoke tobacco or marijuana because it attacks the lungs.
Informed Families is partnering with the Lung Love Foundation to help educate parents and teens about the dangers of vaping. Lung Love Foundation founder, Chance Ammirata, was only 18 years old when he almost lost his life to Juuling. After his near death experience he took to social media to spread awareness of the dangers of vaping. Watch this CBS news clip to learn more about Chance’s story.
Until recently, most parents were not as concerned about their teenager vaping as they would be if their child experimented with other drugs.
National Survey on Drug Use and Health Findings Announced
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The annual survey is the nation’s primary resource for data on mental health and substance use among Americans.
Among the findings:
- The number of Americans misusing pain relievers dropped substantially, and fewer young adults are abusing heroin and other substances.
- Marijuana continues to be the most widely used illicit drug. Frequent marijuana use, in youth (aged 12-17 years) and young adults, appears to be associated with risk for opioid use, heavy alcohol use, and major depressive episodes.
- A majority of people who misuse prescription pain relievers get them from friends & family, or healthcare providers & prescribers.
Let's End the Stigma Associated With Drugs
The Surgeon General’s recent call to end the stigma associated with addiction is long overdue. The stigma surrounding alcohol and drug use and addiction often prevents us from talking openly about these issues with friends, family and most importantly our kids.
It’s much easier to avoid talking about tough topics, especially when we think “that could never happen to one of my loved ones.” No one wants to believe their child is sneaking pills from the medicine cabinet or drinking while out with friends. No one wants to believe their child is experimenting with or using drugs.
The sad truth is that children as young as nine years old already start viewing alcohol in a more positive way, and approximately 3,300 kids, as young as 12 years old, try marijuana each day. Additionally, about five in 10 kids, as young as age 12, obtain prescription pain relievers for non-medical purposes. Furthermore, the research shows that children who first smoke marijuana under the age of 14 are more than five times as likely to abuse drugs as adults than those who first use marijuana at age 18 (NIDA).
It is never too early to talk to your children about the risks of using alcohol and drugs. It may not always seem like it, but kids really do hear their parents say; talk they listen.
5 Steps To Creating A Happy & Healthy Family In 2019
Have you seen Informed Families’ Lock Your Meds signs at your local Publix Pharmacy store? Through our amazing partnership with Publix Pharmacy, we are reaching roughly 1.2 million people in 720 stores across Florida and 397 in the Southeastern US with the Lock Your Meds message. Wow!
A happy and healthy family starts when you create a safe and healthy environment for children. This includes securing your medication, taking regular inventory to ensure nothing is missing and safely disposing of unused or expired medication.
Also, keep tabs on your liquor cabinet - and resist unhealthy social norms that make you feel bad for not “teaching your child to drink” at home. The research shows that children who start drinking before age 15 are 5 times more likely to have alcohol problems at adults.