In 2017, TV hosts Anderson Cooper and co-host Andy Cohen did a segment on New Year’s Eve; they even lit a gas mask bong for an individual about to smoke marijuana, according to Fortune Magazine. At the time, the hosts were in Colorado, where marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Although legal, it sparked an uproar with many people as to the segment’s appropriateness, with children all over the United States being exposed to recreational marijuana via television on New Year’s Eve. While marijuana has certainly become legal recreationally in various states, it’s important that teens are aware of the side effects and potential consequences of drug use, including cannabis.
New Year’s is considered a time to celebrate with friends, and your children may be tempted at parties to smoke marijuana or use other illicit drugs. While you can’t always control the friends your child hangs out with or the places they go, you can provide them with information that they can use in evaluating whether or not to utilize drugs if they become available. Just Think Twice, a government program, provides information on various drugs so that teens get the real facts – and you can, too. Take a look at some facts about marijuana that you may not know:
- Like tobacco, marijuana contains a mixture of gasses and particles that are harmful to your lungs
- Marijuana can make it difficult to drive, judge distances, and react to signals and sounds
- Marijuana can affect memory, and, since there is often no perception of time, your teen may stay out later or get into dangerous situations more easily
While talking with your child, be sure to tell them not only the facts about marijuana and other drugs, but be sure to inform them about peer pressure and how to say “no”. Healthy Living offers some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while speaking with your teen:
- DO offer suggestions about how they should handle a suggestion
- DON’T try to tell them what to do – teens often do not comply with this, sometimes it may even backfire
- DO make your child aware of the choices they have
- DON’T set a bad example by smoking marijuana or using drugs in front of them
Try to stay as involved as you can in your child’s life. If you can emphasize open communication and honesty, you’ll likely be able to get through to them the dangers of drugs, especially at their age with a developing brain.