Marijuana is Most Popular With Teens, How to Notice the Signs of Use

Since marijuana use among teens is thought to be more widespread than alcohol, About.com has posted some very informative statistics about marijuana use amongst teens. These statistics come from trusted government studies and prevention organizations and they tell a powerful story about when our children begin using substances like marijuana.

Here are just a few:

  • Among persons aged 18 or older who reported lifetime marijuana use, almost 53 percent reported that they first used marijuana between ages 12 and 17, and about 2 percent reported that they first used marijuana before age 12. ~ The NSDUH Report, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • Daily Marijuana use increased among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 2009 to 2010. Among 12th graders it was at its highest point since the early 1980s at 6.1%. This year, perceived risk of regular marijuana use also declined among 10th and 12th graders suggesting future trends in use may continue upward. ~ National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  • Marijuana is addictive. About 1 in 6 people who start using as a teen, and 25-50 percent of those who use it every day, become addicted to marijuana. ~ National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  • Marijuana and teen driving do not mix. It is the most common illegal drug found in drivers who die in accidents (around 14 percent of drivers), sometimes in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
    ~ National Institute on Drug Abuse.
To read more facts you can go here

At ACS our Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment (ASAT) Program sees many teens that struggle with marijuana substance abuse. The following paragraph is from Director of Outpatient Counseling Services, Connie Mayer, LMFT, who shares with parents signs of use in their children and how to handle it.

One of my responsibilities at ACS is to conduct our drug and alcohol assessments for teens who may have a problem with substance use. Most often teens in our community choose marijuana as their primary drug of choice. In our assessment, I am looking for several factors in your teen’s life. Some of the red flags are: 

  • How young the teen was when they started using
  • Whether or not they have been depressed before or after the use of marijuana
  •  If they have tried to cut down or stop in the past.

Marijuana is a drug that affects teens in many ways. Parents often notice a lack of motivation, a withdrawal from old friends and extracurricular activities. Many parents say to me, “But is marijuana addictive?” I often discuss with them the behaviors they see in their teen since the use began.Your teen is showing you a pattern of behavior beyond “normal” pulling away in adolescence.

Parents usually know when something is off. As a parent, it is never too early to discuss your concerns with a professional, ask yourself if you notice patterns of mood changes and significant problems with motivation – it may be time to get more information. Trust your intuition. As a therapist I often tell parents, get more informed, you’ll be glad you did!

If you feel that your teen is showing symptoms of use please contact Adolescent Counseling Services, Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program at 650.424.0852 ext. 104 or Connie Mayer at connie@acs-teens.org.

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