Most parents believe that their teenager will do the right thing when it comes to drugs and alcohol, but it is unrealistic to expect them to never experiment with these substances. After all, more than 36 percent of 12th graders admit to using marijuana at least once, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicates that 6.5 percent of high school seniors smoke this gateway drug on a daily basis. Because of this, it is imperative for you to take the time to communicate with your teen about the dangers of giving into peer pressure.
What Do Parents Need to Tell Their Teens?
1. Marijuana can Actually be Addictive
Many people scoff at the idea Nida abaya that marijuana is an addictive narcotic. However, the NIDA reports that 9 percent of all marijuana users in the U.S. have become dependent on the drug to help them get through their day. Sadly, the odds of becoming addicted increase to almost 17 percent if the user starts smoking marijuana while they are a teenager.
It is important to note that some users have experienced withdrawal symptoms such as increased aggression, irritability, anxiety and insomnia after making the decision to quit. This drug is also known as a 'gateway drug' because its use can lower the user's inhibitions, lessening normal fears about using even more dangerous drugs.
2. Drug Laws are Very Harsh
Getting caught with any type of illegal drug is going to lead to legal issues, and your teen could end up dealing with serious fines and jail time if they have enough drugs with them to be charged with trafficking or intent to sell.
It is also important to note that each state has its own guidelines for simple possession charges. For example, if your teen is arrested on a possession charge in Kentucky, they could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. On the other hand, California residents who have a minimal amount of marijuana in their possession will only face up to 180 days in jail.
3. Drug Abuse can Ruin their Life
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 26 percent of all homeless individuals in the U.S. became addicted to drugs before they ended up losing everything. In other words, drug usage can unfortunately become the most important thing in a person's life, and this could cause them to ruin all of their personal relationships, lose their job and end up living on the streets.
If your teen does not seem to be paying attention to you, then it is a good idea to try to reach them on another level such as providing them with an informative book. For example, "The Basketball Diaries" by Jim Carroll tells the true story of a teenager who ruined his life and became homeless after developing a drug addiction.
Talking to your teen about drugs might not be enough to prevent them from going down a bad path. Therefore, you need to pay close attention to them for any signs of drug abuse, including extreme changes in their mood, hygiene and school performance. Additionally, if your teenager gets into legal trouble, you should help them obtain a skilled attorney who can increase their odds of receiving a second chance instead of being sent to jail or a juvenile detention facility.