How To Be a Better Dad: Legalized Pot and Parenting

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How To Be a Better Dad is the Fatherhood section on SingleDad. Read how our members share and exchange great fatherhood advice in all stages of fatherhood. This month, we tackle legalized marijuana and teen parenting. How to talk to your teen about marijuana. Where do you stand?

How To Be a Better Dad:
Legalized Pot and Parenting

How To Be a Better Dad is the Fatherhood and co-parenting
section on SingleDad. Read how our members share and exchange great fatherhood
advice in all stages of fatherhood. This month, we tackle legalized marijuana
and teen parenting. Where do you stand?

Legalized Pot and Parenting

Hi my name is David, I am a 50-year old Divorced Dad living
in California with two teenage sons; ages 13 and 15. With the recent statewide debate on having marijuana
legalized, where does a Father like me stand on getting my sons NOT to
experiment with this drug? As a father, I am opposed to the drug and I need
some ‘other facts" to support my concern as pot being a ‘gateway drug’ to
other drugs and poor choices in life.

Desperate Dad.

pot

Answer from: Dr.
Thomas Wright

Chief Medical Officer, Rosecrance

Hi David,

Today’s changing social environment, especially with the
legalization of marijuana in some states, is sending confusing messages about
drugs and alcohol and may be making it even more difficult for teenagers to
understand what is safe. According to a recent survey conducted by Rosecrance
and Wakefield Research, 76 percent of teens agreed that with legalization,
teenagers may be more likely to experiment with marijuana. And nearly 3 out of 5 teens agree that teenagers who use marijuana are more
likely to try heroin, which has become the fastest growing substance used by
teens.

How To Talk To Your Teen About Marijuana

Marijuana is in fact a gateway drug, which is why it’s
important for you and all parents to know the facts and talk with your teenage
sons about the dangerous affects that come with using marijuana and other
substances.

First, it’s important to understand why teens are at an increased risk for addiction at their age.
According to the Science and Management of Addictions (SAMA), teens’ brains are
still developing, and teens, more than any other age group, are at risk for
substance addiction. Because of
this, teens become addicted to substances quicker than adults.

Second, marijuana today is stronger than it has been in the
past. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, over the past two
decades, the level of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, has
increased over time from 3.75 percent in 1995 to an average of 15 percent in
marijuana cigarettes available today. This means that daily use today can have
stronger effects on a developing teen brain than it did 20 or even 10 years ago. In addition, the use of marijuana has
potential to cause psychosis later in life. According to a study conducted by
Harvard University that followed 2,000 teenagers as they became young adults,
teens who smoked marijuana at least five times were twice as likely to have
developed psychosis over the next 10 years as those who didn’t smoke pot.

Third, it is important to know that marijuana is the most
commonly used illicit drug; the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
reported that five-year trends show significant increases in past-year and
past-month marijuana use across American 8th, 10th, and
12th graders, as well as increases in lifetime and daily marijuana
use among 10th graders. It seems to be today’s drug of choice.

You are correct in that it is important for parents to start
a dialogue with their teens about the risks associated with drug use and that
legalization of marijuana does not make the drug harmless. After treating teens
for nearly a decade, we know at Rosecrance that teens want their parents to actively parent them and provide them with
the guidance they need, including around substances.

For a guide on how to talk to your teens about marijuana,
check out "Teens and Weed:
Still a Big Deal."
For additional resources on teen substance use see the "Resources for Parents"
section on Rosecrance’s website.

Best of luck to you with your teenage boys!

Dr. Thomas Wright

Chief Medical Officer, Rosecrance

pot

References:

"Teens
Who Smoke Pot at Risk for later Schizophrenia, Psychosis"
– Harvard Health
Publications

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Richard JaramilloRichard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”

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Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com, a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children. RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents “Make Life Happen…Again!”