According to the Texas School Survey, marijuana use among secondary students is increasing, with 38.2 percent of 12th-graders reporting that they have used marijuana at least once. Despite recent legalization movements in other states, marijuana remains a threat to public health and safety. In 2011, marijuana was reported in over 455,000 emergency department visits in the United States, and over 13 percent of those involved people between the ages of 12 and 17.

Marijuana has negative effects on attention, motivation, memory and learning that can persist after the drug’s immediate effects wear off. Compared with nonsmoking peers, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

How can we help our kids make smart choices when they experience pressure to use marijuana? Parents — your opinions have an impact. It may not feel like your teen is listening, but teenagers consistently report that their parents are the most influential voice in their lives — even more than peers or friends. Sit down and talk with your teens. It can be hard to know what to say, so we here at the Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol have a few tips to share.

First, know that it’s never too early to talk with your children about drugs or alcohol use. It’s just like any other safety issue. You need to warn your kids early about the dangers of marijuana use. Second, be specific about your expectations and make it clear that using marijuana is unacceptable. Third, know the facts. Make sure your teens know that marijuana is addictive and can contribute to depression, anxiety or cancer, as well as have negative effects on a teenager’s developing brain. Finally, remind your teen that marijuana is illegal and using it could jeopardize their plans for the future or even keep them from participating in current extracurricular activities.

The most important thing is to talk to your teens regularly, be involved in their lives and make sure that they know where you stand on these important issues. For more information or support in talking with your teens about alcohol, tobacco or other drug use, email coalitions@bacoda.org, call 800-510-3111 or visit www.bacoda.org.

Jennifer Newton is the communications coordinator for BACODA.

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(9) comments

Doyle Beard

Medicinal use should be the only use for this drug.

Carlos Ponce

Medicinal marijuana is not the same as recreational marijuana. Medicinal marijuana is high in CBD (Cannabidiol). Recreational marijuana is high in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Doyle Beard

correct but my post no none use anymarijuana except for medicinal uses.

Martin Connor

Why not just make it legal for medicinal and recreational use. Alcohol has a much more negative effect on the body and no one is planning on another prohibition anytime soon. I have many successful friends who are occasional recreational users. Just because i don't care for the stuff, i have no problem with others.

Carlos Ponce

" Just because i don't care for the stuff, i have no problem with others. "
When they use recreational marijuana on the streets it endangers you, me, your friends and relatives.
From the Liberal factcheck.org:
"...increases in these incidents were significant. Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 154 percent between 2006 and 2014; Colorado emergency room hospital visits that were “likely related” to marijuana increased by 77 percent from 2011 to 2014; and drug-related suspensions/expulsions increased 40 percent from school years 2008/2009 to 2013/2014, according to a September 2015 report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Traffic Area, a collaboration of federal, state and local drug enforcement agencies."
https://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/unpacking-pots-impact-in-colorado/
"Study: Fatal Car Crashes Involving Marijuana Have Tripled"
http://seattle.cbslocal.com/2014/02/04/study-fatal-car-crashes-involving-marijuana-have-tripled/
"Marijuana playing larger role in fatal crashes"
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/06/09/marijuana-accidents/10219119/
"Fatal Road Crashes Involving Marijuana Double After State Legalizes Drug"
http://newsroom.aaa.com/2016/05/fatal-road-crashes-involving-marijuana-double-state-legalizes-drug/
WAPO claims no significant change:
"They found that over that time period, collisions claim frequencies in the states that had legalized marijuana were about 3 percent higher than would have been anticipated without legalization."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/26/what-marijuana-legalization-did-to-car-accident-rates/?utm_term=.1f31de52a4a1
Alcohol abuse is bad. Do you really want to add another bad choice into the mix?

Martin Connor

Then why not bring prohibition back? I took a class last year that discussed alcohol related deaths. It did say the combination of marijuana and alcohol had the highest probability of deaths. However, each had lower percentages when used alone. Not that it is acceptable as far as operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Any substance can impair our driving abilities, but why allow one legal substance that has a higher physical dependency along with much more severe long term effects and not the other? You can still get a DUI from being high. I believe responsible use is up to the individual and if they abuse it just like alcohol then they will suffer the same consequences.

Carlos Ponce

That's the problem when you try to prohibit a substance that's been legal for decades. The marijuana of today is not the same plant God put on this planet, nor is it the same as what was found when you were in school, nor is it the same as what was found less than a .decade ago. But as its potency increases, prohibiting it in states where it is allowed will be next to impossible. The potency of alcohol is found on the label. How can you rate the potency of marijuana when it varies from grower to grower, batch to batch? Not good.

Martin Connor

Well, Mr. Ponce, I do agree 100% with you on that angle. I do not understand the need to strengthen something to obliterate your senses, but they do that with alcohol also. The difference with legalized is the shops that will sale, will have concentration levels for whatever you are buying, just like any beer or alcohol. One of my friends and your former student that lives in Aspen said it is very well maintained and regulated, and you know what you are buying so you do not have to worry about getting something dangerous as are the possibilities when buying illegally.

Carlos Ponce

That's better than what I've heard from California. It's caveat emtor - let the buyer beware. The strength of the product varies from seller to seller, batch to batch. Some will give you a mild "high". Others will knock you on your a__.

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