If you’re one of those people who thinks synthetic marijuana is safe, think again. A recent article told the story of a girl who started using it when she was 17 and is now in a drug addiction rehabilitation trying to quit. And it’s a good thing – people using this stuff have done some pretty strange things, and some of them are now dead because of it.
Family plays a big part in whether or not kids get on drugs and drink alcohol. If parents educate themselves and their kids about drugs, for example, the kids are 50 percent less likely to get involved in drugs than kids who don’t have that advantage. But another aspect of family life that makes a huge difference is whether or not kids eat with their parents. In fact, the more often they do, the lower the chances of them taking drugs, and even being associated with those who do. Let’s look at the research.
There are always news articles and other stories about the dangers of marijuana. And they’re often responded to, online, primarily by supporters. People who say marijuana is not harmful – that no one has DIED from marijuana, as they have from so many other drugs. Okay, it might be true that no one has died, but that doesn’t mean it’s not harmful. A report from Colorado – where recreational marijuana was legalized nevertheless – shows exactly what I’m talking about.
A friend who is a journalist started as a very young man on a small town newspaper. After having several arguments about headlines like “Snowstorm Causes Multiple Vehicle Pile-Ups Across the City,” he got fired. From his viewpoint, the snowstorm didn’t cause anything; the multiple vehicle pile-ups were caused by drivers who didn’t know how to control their car in a snowstorm. The editor didn’t want to hear it.
Every once in a while I see a headline that reminds me of that situation. Today, for example, I saw the headline “Legalise Weed To Fight Alcohol Addiction…”. The first sentence said “The rise in alcohol addiction in India is the result of the ban on cannabis.”
You often hear of parents who didn’t know their kid was taking drugs until the call came from the ER at the local hospital, the police, or someone else telling them their kid is in serious trouble. The parents think their kids would never take drugs or, if they did, they would be open and honest about it. They’re shocked to find out that their kids have been taking drugs for a year or two, maybe longer. How can parents be so disconnected from what’s going on in their kids lives?
One of the major reasons is that parents have an image of drug-users that does not include their kids.
They see drug users as kids from horrible homes with horrible problems like parents who take drugs, drink excessively, abuse their kids or neglect them. Or maybe they’re extremely poor and the parents are constantly stressed out trying to keep up with things.
I recently read an article about a woman whose 20-year-old son was shot and killed when he was trying to buy OxyContin. He had been addicted for several years and, according to his mother, he was unaware of the potential consequences. His mother also said she tried to help him, but he ‘wasn’t ready’. And that he didn’t think his addiction was ‘so bad’. Now, he’s dead. Her warning to other parents: educate your children on the dangers of drugs. But parents need to do a lot more than that.
For example, a New Orleans bakery recently sold their customers Kings Cakes – the traditional cake baked for the January Three Kings Day, celebrated primarily in Louisiana and Latin America – laced with synthetic marijuana.
True, not all people who smoke marijuana continue on with other drugs. It’s also true that people who have a social drink or two now and then don’t become alcoholics. And it’s true that the majority of people who take OxyContin or some other opioid painkiller after surgery or an injury don’t get addicted or die from an overdose. BUT if those things were all that rare, we wouldn’t have 10s of millions of drug addicts in the U.S.
But once you go down that slippery slope of using drugs to handle problems in life – even if that problem is that you don’t feel as relaxed as you could and even if you start with marijuana – you are opening the door to becoming an addict.
We wish you a very happy holiday and a wonderful 2015. We hope you’re not dealing with alcoholism or drug addiction in the family. We know that as wonderful as holiday season is, it can be very uncomfortable for families and friends of drug addicts or alcoholics. If that’s the case in your family, it’s probably not the first holiday season you’ve had to cope with this. But you didn’t get them into drug addiction rehabilitation during the year so …. here you are again. Coping with the same problems. How do you make sure the same doesn’t happen next year?