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.
Informed Families Blog
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.
Unplug To Connect With Your Children This Summer
Summer offers a sense of freedom for kids. With school out of session, children gain a great deal of free time. As parents you take on more responsibility; it’s your responsibility to keep children active physically and mentally and to not leave them to their own devices. While some boredom is good for the teen brain, excessive free time can increase their risk to get involved in harmful behaviors.
Did you know that summer is the riskiest time of the year for teens and drugs? Research shows that more teens try marijuana and other drugs for the first time in June and July than any other time of the year.
As your first priority, plan time to just have fun together, connecting as a family. Turn off the Media madness (that means you too!) and play a game. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is. Plus, it will reduce your stress and increase bonding, as you learn more about each person in the family. Spending time together walking, swimming or hiking outdoors is also a great chance to stay fit and connected. If one activity turns disasterous, try another one. Don't give up on connecting with your children.
Communicate with your kids about the things they want to do this summer. Open them up to positive activities such as a sport, community serivce or have them take additional summer classes to keep their minds sharp and vibrant. Don’t allow their minds to become addicted to screens. And monitor what they are consuming when they are watching screens. Common Sense Media is a wonderful, time-saving tool.
If you have two minutes to spare, we'd love to get your feedback on issues that matter to you, as we are always striving to offer you the best research-based support to help your kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.
I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for all the wonderful dads out there. I hope you had a great Father's Day.
Until next time,
On Election Day last November, the presidential race wasn’t the only result to make news in Florida. Voters in our state approved Amendment 2, which expanded the sale and distribution of medical marijuana. The measure, which is now part of the Florida constitution, required a 60 percent vote to pass and received a 71 percent tally—nearly three-quarters of ballots cast. The amendment went into effect Jan. 3, although state health officials are still in the process of cementing rules regulating the cannabis industry.
Confusion remains about what Amendment 2 entails and what it will mean for Florida. Other states have medical marijuana laws, ranging from strict to lenient on how cannabis is prescribed and obtained. One thing is clear from the other states’ leads: Medicinal marijuana, though arguably a benefit to sick patients, negatively impacts teen drug statistics. Although Amendment 2 overwhelmingly passed, how the law will affect Florida families is currently uncertain.