Parents should know that the social culture for pot in high school differs from the social culture for alcohol use. Pot use is accepted on a daily basis, and often smoked between classes. At the end of the day, confirmed potheads cannot concentrate on much, let alone chemistry or higher math, and a-motivational syndrome takes hold. On the other hand, alcohol use among teens, unlike pot, is usually relegated to parties and it is rarely brought into school.
Teens initially use pot and smoke cigarettes to fit in with a particular crowd. Sadly, most young people are introduced to drugs by an older sibling or cousin. Having observed teen behavior for twenty-five years, hanging with the “druggies” stands-in for team activities. Even the best athlete or scholar usually can’t continue to perform once smoking pot becomes part of his or her routine. If your children are non-participants in any school activities, they are at greater risk of joining the not-so-elite club that welcomes everyone, as long as everyone is smoking.
At first, the government targeted pot as a gateway drug. Experts believed that recreational use of pot would eventually propel kids into using harder drugs. Today, pot smokers are using it to such a degree that it is not a gateway drug to something else; it can stand alone as a highly addictive drug. As parents, realize it is not a benign drug; it does slow the user down; concentrating is difficult and, yes, as with anything that gives pleasure, it has an addictive component to it. After all, there is a reason kids call it chronic.
It is difficult to find consensus on alcohol or pot use statistics. Most kids think it is cool to lie on questionnaires, so the numbers are skewed. However, some agencies still report that Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug by teens today.
The antidote to drugs is helping children develop a strong sense of self, faith in the family’s rules and mores, respect for their parents, and participation in outside activities in which a young person can excel, feel good about, and enjoy.