Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Only A Little Weed

This last week a I spoke to six more high school classes about what it does to you and your loved ones if you choose to use drugs.

During one class I had a vocal student that questioned my opinions on smoking marijuana. During these talks I don't hold back on my experiences as the parent of an addict or what I observed happens to a young person that makes that initial choice to use drugs and then become addicted.

This 14 year old student began his comments as, "What's wrong with a little smoke?"

At the beginning of my discussion I preface everything with I am not here to be another person telling you not to use drugs. My whole reason for being here is to provide you real life examples to what could happen to you and your loved ones if you make that choice to use.

"What's wrong with a little smoke?" First of all it is illegal. If you are dealing with someone that is using or supplying an illegal substance you will be or eventually be exposed to other illegal substances. There is the danger of an unknown product, who regulates the quality and composition of this product? There is always the risk of arrest.

This student then wanted to engage in an argument as to the merits of legalization of marijuana. Not going there. That's not the purpose of my being in the classroom.

The student is stuck on his issue and subject re-surfaces again later in the discussion. My questions to the class, "Is weed a "gateway" drug? If you smoke weed will you become a heroin addict? Not everyone that smokes weed becomes a heroin addict, but I have not yet met a single heroin addict that didn't smoke weed first, which one are you? I've never met a heroin or meth addict, or cokehead that started with heroin have you? Do you believe that someone just wakes up one day and decides, today I am going to stick a needle in my arm?"

As the end of class alarm sounds and the students are leaving, "I don't care what you say, I am not going to stop smoking."

I know 14 years old may be too late to start talking, but what do you say to your 14 year old when you hear, "It's only a little weed."

24 comments:

Terri said...

Well, when my son was 14 and found weed in his room I heard the same thing from him. I gave him the same information that you gave the students and 3 years later he was using needles. I don't know what the answer is. I am sure if anyone finds "the" answer they could save a lot of folks a lot of misery.

Thanks for what you are doing to educate our young folks.

beachteacher said...

My son also started with weed,...which ended up to be him smoking weed many,many, times per day, and while alone, and it taking over his life. However,...of course, that's because he is an addict. Weed then led to many other drugs..LSD(a LOT),ecstasy,alcohol, mushrooms, and then a $200 per day cocaine addiction. He did snort heroin a couple of times, but thankfully never went to needles. He also dealt weed to support his addiction, thus ended up with many arrests...etc.. :( After all of that, I HATE weed, the smell of it...anything to do with it.
The irony is that I was quite the enthusiastic pot smoker in college...well,.actually in high school too. So....while I totally agree with you, and not the 14 yr. old,...look at what the 14 yr. is seeing. He must know many examples of weed not leading to addiction,...thus the reason this is so damn difficult of a message to get through to him and his peers. But not everyone is like me...and those that are like my son and others prone to addiction should definitely stay away from weed and all other substances.
I wish I knew the answer to get that through their adolescent brains..because even they themselves don't know which type they are.

Annette said...

Yep, it started with weed and alcohol here too at 13. You can't convince him, unfortunately. All you can do is share your message and hope that someday when he needs to he will think back on it.

Thank you for your recent comment on my blog. Very true....

Suzy said...

Yep, again, started with weed for one son, who went on to try all different drugs, ended up on herion.But he was always the 'thrill seeker'.
My other son, younger, smokes weed recreationally, is happy with that.
However, reading the article on high IQ and drugs, my elder son falls into that category. He is clever, he was always seeking the ultimate adrenalin rush, and has an addictive personality. I wish I had known so much more about drugs when they were young, maybe I could have intervened. . . I don't know the answer either.

Momma said...

I don't know what the answer is either. My son tried pot, but didn't get into it. Then he ended up shooting heroin. Weird, eh?

I wish I knew how to tell kids not to smoke pot. I always used the angle about it being illegal too.

Thanks for what you do, Ron. You are doing important work.

Tori said...

Sadly where I am anyone can get a card walk right in the club and out with weed. So using the approach of it is illegal has no merit.

I have yet to meet a kid even that doesn't do any drugs think weed is wrong. B and I were discussing this last week and I gave up. He thinks nothing is wrong with it just like he doesn't think he shouldn't be able to drink a couple of beers. I tried to tell him that it all starts with weed and he disagrees. He says over and over that all the friends he lost during his H days smoked a little weed and drank and never became like him. Then he will go on to argue that it is natural and as long as you don't buy it on the street what is the problem?

I have given that fight up. I wish I could get through to him but I can't not now anyway.

Jackie said...

I've been lucky so far, in that my two adult kids grew up in an alcoholic household and took from it that they should stay far away from drugs and alcohol.
Their dislike of drugs and alcohol has probably been the biggest influence on my 15 year old. He is 9 years younger than his brother and 14 years younger than his sister and brother-in-law. When they saw that underage drinking or drinking to excess is not cool, he believes it. When they say that pot is illegal and not cool, he believes it.
As I've said, I've been lucky. It certainly hasn't been my sterling example.

Jake said...

There can be no doubt that addiction is progressive. Unfortunately, teenagers who smoke weed (especially those at high risk for addiction) rarely believe this because a) they think they are invincible; and b) using drugs is still a euphoric experience for them. As for me, I wish that someone had explained to me that by using drugs I was actually changing the neurochemistry of my brain in such a way as to almost ensure that the disease would progress. But would I have even believed that back then? Or would I have thought that the adults were just trying to ruin all of my "fun"?

In any event, my story is no different than what you describe. I definitely didn't start out with a hardcore drug habit but that is where I ended up...

cy said...

My view is that the 14-year old is clearly seeing the reality of the situation.

It's not that weed (and also wine and beer) have something wrong with them, it's that there is something wrong with individuals like my son, who use them to excess. (And by "wrong" I mean "different" and of course I love the boy.)

Getting into an argument over whether drugs and alcohol are wrong because they are illegal only gets everything all mired in philosophy and the failure of prohibition and the evils of society policing consumption of alcohol and drugs etc. etc. I don't think it's very convincing to many people, let alone an argumentative 14-year-old.

Anyway, my son started out with weed and alcohol and sniffing glue. He hasn't hasn't progressed to opiates ---yet. I think it is possible that he will.

But, like I said, that's not because there is something wrong with drinking and smoking marijuana, plenty of people have managed to use both completely responsibly, for instance, many folks manage to enhance a nice dinner with a nice bottle of wine. I know that, and so do teenagers.

The problem, as I see it, lies with my son.

So---I think what has made your talks to school-kids most convincing is because you are telling the story of a kid who can't manage to use these drugs in a moderate manner. It's important for them to hear that. I think it does influence my son's thinking about the consequences of smoking weed and drinking alcohol when he hears a story like Alex. Thanks for trying.

Topper said...

I am reminded of something I read a few years ago "how to tell your kid to say no today when you said yes in the 70s/80s. I think a lot of us,at least I know I was in the category, that didn't worry too much at first because I had "turned out just fine" from my own drug experimentation as a young adult and thought my own child was just going through normal growing up experiences. NOT. Quite a dilemma. I have listened to quite a few students (I teach high school) talk about substance when they think I'm not listening. Debating what I want to say,I am new at this school. Have made the comment I don'twant to talk or hear talk about it in my classes.

Brother Frankie said...

what do u say? its what u do.. you make their life miserable. you call the police, you follow them, you have them arrested, you make them understand early the consequences for their choices..

i get calls all the time.. i just found pot in my kids room, what do i do.. my answer is call the police.. now.. then take all of the stuff out of their room, tv, bed, cellphone, door off hinges... and let them earn it all back after they get arrested..

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is a gateway drug, sometimes not, I know plenty of people that smoked weed and never progressed to anything else. I also know others that smoked weed, tried some other things and then gave it all up. None of them became addicts. I used to smoke weed when I was young, stopped, and never missed it. I think that alcohol is equally as bad as weed. Growing up around two alcoholic parents was far worse than then being with people I knew that smoked weed now and then. My son who became an opiate addict never even enjoyed weed, it didn't do anything at all for him so he tried other things that would fill the void.

Syd said...

I am glad that I don't have to go through the "What would you do" with a 14 year old. I know that my father would have taken everything from me, and put the fear of God into me. I tried weed in college but did not have time for getting stoned all the time. Fortunately, drugs and alcohol are not something that I craved. I must have the anti-gene for them.

Jake said...

To Anonymous:

I think that you are correct that marijuana is not always a gateway drug and that not everyone who uses it becomes an addict. Unfortunately, science and medicine has not advanced to a point where risk factors for addiction (particularly biological factors) can be readily identified. Therefore, anyone who first ingests any drug (including alcohol) is essentially playing a game of Russian roulette.

Anonymous said...

You are a complete idiot. Maybe your intentions are there but you are still an idiot when it comes to the facts. I have never met a single child molester who has never had a sip of water. Water must lead to child molestation. That is your agreement, basically.

And another point. Your son is exposed to cocain and heroin because when he wants to buy a harmless substance he must go through a black market filled with coke meth heroin and prostitutes. If it were legal then no one would be going to the kind of people who introduce you to hardcore drugs. You should be an advocate of legalization! All your points just support legalization

Dad and Mom said...

Dear Anonymous,

My question is, did you read my post and listen to my presentation, it is posted on YouTube.

I have NEVER said that smoking weed will make you use heroin. My point is, anecdotal evidence, I have NEVER met a heroin addict that didn't smoke weed at some point usually in the beginning. That is my experience in fact in my presentation I state I'm sure there may be some out there but it is just that I have never met one yet.

I am not for legalization, my talk nor my points make a case for legalization. I am, however an advocate of better treatment and more accessable treatment. I have written in my blog that jail does no good for addicts. If we want to slow the addiction epidemic then we must do something different but I am not advocating legalization.

Steven Dawson said...

I think what you are doing is so important. I had an issue with drugs and alcohol as a teenager. I got well at 18 and began sharing my story as well. I think it is important for there to be a face and a voice of recovery out there. I also do some out reach work, I work as a therapist in NYC in a chemical dependency unit. I also give presentations on a variety of topics. I recently posted a blog on my site www.Steven-Dawson.com about what addiction is and isn't it might be a good read. I would love to stay in touch and see if we could work together on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Ok Im a 14 year old pot smoker and i have never felt the need to move on to any other drug...Weed is not a gateway drug they either do it then go to the hard shit or don't do then go to the hard shit...me and my friend live by a code of staying with weed because well we are your Original pot smokers that do nothing but what comes from the ground. (Including Shrooms occasionally) I have alway's thought about other drugs not because i do weed but because i just do...it's like saying im going to have sex because i see it on tv. No im going to have sex because it's just the way it is...i dont condone any other drugs besides the two. You are either a stoner or you are not. it's people like all of you (Not insulting just categorizing) That give stoners like me and my friend a bad name and make it harder for us to Have fun with our lives.

Anonymous said...

Contact me at austin3511@yahoo.com (I don't nor will i Move on to Drugs) (Weed is not a drug, Shrooms are though)

Anonymous said...

Ya'll need to chill the fuck out. Marijuana is NOT addictive by any means. If your child is using cocaine or needles that is YOUR fault parents. I guarantee you if I was using fucking needles, people around me would notice (along with my parents) in a heartbeat. It's not a gateway drug because as previously stated it's not ADDICTIVE. It pisses me off so much when I see people trying to "educate" students about the "dangers of pot," when they're not even educated themselves. Do some research before you go around telling teens not to do what you did everyday in the 70s. I was brought up in a very strict household and I was able to smoke almost everyday without ANYONE noticing, but if I started doing coke and other shit? Oh forget it. Just shows how dumb and ignorant people are these days. We have people smoking pot to help them fight cancer and we are still so ignorant. Why? Because we still use that cliche answer "It could negatively affect you and your loved ones." My last point to this bullshit is that when asked why weed was so bad you started off by saying it's illegal??!!??!! WHAT??!!!?!! If you told me to write the worst thing about meth on paper, I can guarantee you I would not start with "for one it's illegal." How about the fact meth makes you lose dozens of pounds and you can overdose in a heartbeat. Weed though? It's illegal. You have to be kidding me. Stop filling our future generation with bullshit. LEGALIZE EDUCATE MEDICATE...smoke on!!

Anonymous said...

So I just got busted by my 12 year old son that found my marijuana pipe. Ouch.
I took the opportunity to tell him about my use of weed, and what it can and cannot do.
First of all, I'm a doctor that graduated high school, college and med school with honors.
Second of all, I am highly successful (except in hiding things apparently).
I started using weed when I was 12 at camp. I continue to smoke once or twice a week, if I'm not on call or have something important to do.
Marijuana can effect the developing brain in ways that are poorly understood at this point. As an adult, when there is some level of accountability and completed neuroanatomical/biochemical development, a choice can be made to try different things to enhance your experiences.
Unfortunately, when a young child (like myself at the time) experiments with alcohol or drugs, the biochemical response can be overwhelming. Who doesn't want to feel good? Some just fall into the trap that feeling good only happens when they are high. I didn't, and I don't know why.
At this time, alcohol and drug use are a crap shoot, a game of Russian roulette. You don't know what you'll get, so don't even consider starting until you are an adult,Period. Just because I put the gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger and I'm here to tell the story doesn't mean you can do the same. We just don't know what is going to happen.
The above is the gist of what I told my son. He has been properly brainwashed to hate drugs and those who use them, so there was great disappointment in his eyes, which hurt me deeply.
I simply explained that I feel that marijuana, like alcohol, has no business in your body until you are an adult. I further explained that in our state, where it remains illegal, an arrest for possession or being around the types that supply it could likely have serious consequences on his future.
He asked me what could happen if I was caught with it, so I told him. I could be arrested, jailed, I could lose my medical license or my license to prescribe medications. Which is why I don't smoke in public, don't take it out of the house, and only get it from a person I've known since high school that grows small amounts in her basement.
Bad day. I have to re-evaluate all the reasons why I should no longer smoke, but I have to tell you, I enjoy it. But I'm not enjoying this at all.

Donnie Benson said...

The argument you had with your student is truly alarming. Not only is that "little smoke" illegal, but because it's a starting point where the curious teens would wonder what it would be like to try the other stuff. Especially after the point where they're already addicted to marijuana to stop themselves from looking for the next fix. Little or otherwise, it will always have an effect to one’s system.

Donnie Benson @ Midwest Institute

Anonymous said...

The people who use drugs (heroin) are depressed probably or just want to have fun and accidentally get addicted, maybe you're a shitty parent more than weed is a bad drug, not everyone that has a kid will raise a winner and not every kid who plays little league is going to play MLB. NOW THOSE ARE ACTUAL FACTS.

sad said...


Hi.

I am a grandma of a young man who gets high. He does not smell like marijuana, so he is on something else. It is none of my business, but I would like for him to stay alive. I wonder just what he is using. I know that there is nothing I can do, that all I can do is to keep the focus on myself, as in Al Anon.

So why am I writing this blog? Just because I feel so utterly helpless. His mother gave him life, and the liberty to keep it or lose it. But as a grandmother, I watch and cry.