Now that laws in some states (though not in Kentucky) are easing in regard to marijuana possession and usage, some teens and adults believe it must be a harmless drug.
Not so, especially for teens.
Marijuana, according to an article by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), affects many aspects of a young person’s mental, physical and emotional health, and it’s certainly addictive.
For someone who smokes or ingests marijuana regularly, clear thinking and good judgment are often affected. This can cause school work (and grades) to falter, and can lead to bad decision-making. The AAP states that marijuana users are more likely to engage in “unwanted or unprotected sex” because their judgment is impaired. Also, “Those who drive or take other risks after smoking marijuana are much more likely to be injured or killed.”
According to the same article, because teens are still growing and developing, marijuana usage “can lead to a wide range of serious health problems, including heart and lung damage, cancer, mental health problems, and addiction. Depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia occur more often in marijuana users.”
How to prevent addiction to marijuana and other drugs in your teen?
- Educate. Make sure you know about drug usage and its signs, and educate your teenager. When you see someone else acting irresponsibly, or hear about a situation of driving under the influence, initiate a calm discussion.
- Monitor. Don’t assume your child will never try drugs. Marijuana, say teens, isn’t that hard to come by. Watch for signs. Pay attention to the people your kids hang out with.
- Be an example. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. Make sure illegal drugs have no place in your home.
- Get help. Make sure your teen sees a counselor if needed—not just if she is using drugs, but for any emotional or educational issues. This is a serious concern and outside help is sometimes needed.
- Be aware. If you think your child could be using drugs, you may contact our office for a drug screen.
Your teen needs you to keep an eye on his total well-being, and that includes making sure he stays away from addictive substances.
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