This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Institute on Drug Abuse. All opinions are 100% mine.
This week is National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM, dedicated to helping SHATTER THE MYTHSTM,SM around substance use and addiction that teens and parents may have. Often, youth get the wrong idea about drug use from internet, TV, movies, music, and even their friends. It’s crazy to think, but 1 in 3 songs references drugs, alcohol, or tobacco use. This is what our children are exposed to. When kids are armed with the right information about drugs and alcohol, they’re able to make better educated decisions.
All parents should be having those important discussions with their teens to know what their understanding is and think how you can better help them make informed decisions. Take the time during National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM, to start communicating with your children. If you need a place to start the conversation, the 12-question, multiple choice National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge can help guide a conversation starting point based on the results.
I got 10 right out of 12. After pouring over the website for a few hours reading about different drugs I still missed a couple of the questions! There’s a lot to know as parents, and even more our young children don’t yet know. There are a lot of drug and alcohol factsd we need to be aware of, to protect our families.
What Parents Need to Know About Marijuana
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used and accessible drugs available to teens. It can also lead to experimentation with other drugs. This makes it especially important to be aware of what marijuana is and the common signs and symptoms of use you may notice as a parent. If you’re able to notice the changes in your child’s behavior or health, it can help you intervene, when necessary, and open the door to communication early.
Common Names for Marijuana
Marijuana has other common names it is referred to as, including weed, pot, grass, Mary Jane, MJ, and others. Knowing the common names can help you keep better tabs on your children.
Marijuana Use by Teens
A study in 2016 reported that 12.8% of 8th graders have tried marijuana, which increases to 29.7% by 10th grate and 44.5% by 12th. That’s nearly half of all teens that will have tried marijuana by the time they graduate high school. That’s a staggering number, and odds are it will likely touch your household.
Common Signs of Marijuana Use
If your child is using marijuana, he or she might:
- seem unusually giggly and/or uncoordinated
- have very red, bloodshot eyes or frequently use eye drops
- have a hard time remembering things that just happened
- have drugs or drug paraphernalia, including pipes and rolling papers
- have strangely smelling clothes or bedroom
- use incense or other deodorizers
- wear clothing or jewelry or have posters that promote drug use
- have unexplained lack of money or a surplus of cash on hand
Also watch for changes in: relationships with family and friends, academic performance, including skipping class, interests or favorite activities, peer group, and eating and sleeping habits. All of these signs can be related to drug use, or other problems. *Information sourced from: Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health.
How to Help Your Children
Parental involvement and communication is a key important factor in helping children stay away from drugs and alcohol or get help, when needed. DrugAbuse.gov has a great resource to help parents know how to open communication and the other key skills of connecting with teens. Head over to their Family Check-up resource to learn more about Communication, Encouragement, Negotiation, Setting Limits, and Supervision and how these tools can help your family.
Need even more help? Turn to What to do if your teen has problems with drugs for a whole site of resources for parents and teens.
By keeping up the conversation about the effect of drugs and alcohol and dispelling myths we can help our youth avoid addiction and hopefully continue to see these statistics decline.