Marijuana Abuse Prevention
Marijuana use is the most common form of illegal drug abuse in the United States. Many people use marijuana (almost 40 percent of the population has used marijuana at least once). Indeed, it can be difficult to prevent marijuana use because it is so widespread, and also because many feel that marijuana is a relatively safe substance.
Another thing that makes marijuana use so prevalent and hard to prevent is the fact that it is mostly commonly used amongst those aged 18 to 25. This means that it is hard for parents to maintain the same level of influence they previously had.
One of the ways to encourage marijuana prevention is to understand where the marijuana comes from. Most marijuana that comes into the United States from foreign sources comes through the border with Mexico. It travels along Interstates for quick distribution. Additionally, some "high quality" marijuana comes to the U.S. from Canada.
But marijuana is also grown domestically.
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The Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCE/SP) reports that more than 5 million plants are seized in the U.S. each year. Some of the problem areas are actually in some of the national parks, where marijuana plantations can be hidden in remote areas and obscured by other vegetation.
It is important to note that marijuana is widely available from a variety of sources. And, because growing and processing techniques have been refined, marijuana has increased in potency over the last 20 years. Its effects are more pronounced and so is its addictiveness.
Access to marijuana
In marijuana use prevention, it is important to understand how users are gaining access. One of the most common ways that people gain access to marijuana (the Centers for Disease Control report 2.1 million new users each year) is through friends. Indeed, most first time users obtain their first experience with marijuana in the company of friends. It is important to be involved and watch your children's friends. By monitoring who your teens hang out with, and by encouraging them to spend time in your home, you can help prevent marijuana use.
The Internet is another potential source. It is possible to find dealers that sell marijuana, and even order it in some cases, using online sources. There are also Web sites that show users how to make their own bongs for smoking marijuana. It is even possible to order your own plants online. Watch the Internet. Your roommate, child or friend may be more reluctant about seeking out information about marijuana use online if they know you are nearby. In your own home, place the computer in a public area so that you can keep track of what your kids are looking at.
Education when younger
One of the biggest factors in the prevention of marijuana use is education. This needs to be targeted at high school students and even younger students. It is important that kids know the dangers and possible long-term effects of marijuana use. Education is especially important in terms of dispelling the myth that marijuana is not very dangerous.
Another potential problem with marijuana use is that teens and young adults may be interested in whether or not you used marijuana when younger. Many people of the Baby Boomer generation, and the generation following, experimented with marijuana. It is important to present your kids with the facts. Make sure they know that you aren't proud of what you did. Here are some things you can point out about marijuana use:
- It is illegal. Point out that your child will face the consequences of possession. The fact that you tried marijuana doesn't change that.
- Marijuana is more potent now. Make it clear that marijuana is up to 25 times stronger than it was when you smoked marijuana. It has increased in danger.
- Recall the negatives. Point out that you might have been "in a haze." Also, if you had unpleasant reactions, such as nausea or other side effects, point those out.
The key is to focus on the now, make it clear that marijuana use comes with very real risks and consequences that can follow a teen or young adult through life.
Parental involvement - and involvement of other loved ones - is one of the most important factors in the prevention of marijuana use. Indeed, you need to set clear expectations for behavior, and make it clear that drug use - including marijuana use - is not to be tolerated. Make sure that you provide opportunities for open communication.
Marijuana prevention takes effort and involvement. And it may not be possible to completely prevent someone from trying marijuana. But it is vital that you work as hard as possible to help prevent marijuana use from becoming a regular habit.