Talking to Teens about “Back to School” Alcohol and Drug Use

As students return to school, it is important for parents to be mindful of their teens’ habits. Alcohol and drug abuse can easily become a problem in your child’s life, especially with the added stressors of a new school year. The top five reasons kids use drugs and alcohol are:

Students Looking Out Of School Bus Window

  1. To combat loneliness, low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression
  2. To mentally “check-out” of family issues or school trouble
  3. To ease discomfort in an unfamiliar situation
  4. To look cool or change their image/reputation
  5. To fit in with a desired group of friends

All these causes can be intensified at the beginning of the school year, as teens adjust to new classes, new classmates, and possibly a new school. This can lead to experimentation with drugs and/or alcohol.

According the 2015 Monitoring the Future study conducted by the University of Michigan, 58% of 12th graders used alcohol within the last year, 35% used marijuana, and 8% used amphetamines. While there has been a trend downward in these numbers, the percentage can still seem staggeringly high. Moreover, in the same study, it was found that only 32% of 12th graders think that regular use of marijuana puts the user at a great risk. This highlights the fact that not all teens are aware of the effects of drug use. In reality, marijuana can have a variety of harmful effects; among other issues, use can cause changes in adolescent brain development, increase the risk of psychosis, and cause lung complications. (Learn more about the effects of marijuana abuse at RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana)

To make sure your teen stays safe this school year, it is important to have a discussion about the risks associated with drug and alcohol use. You have more influence on your child’s values and decisions about using substances before he or she begins to use alcohol or drugs. But, starting the conversation isn’t always easy. For information about the dangers of teen drug use and for tips on how to have open conversations with your teen, download the Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse provided by Gateway Drug & Alcohol Treatment Centers.

 

 

Lake County TV Special: Gateway Presents the Effects of Marijuana Use

One of the best lectures on Marijuana that I have heard in a long time – mainly because it was clear, concise and objective. It used medical and scientific evidence about this drug. It was so good that I thought the citizens of Lake County should listen to at least parts of it!” – Thomas Rudd, Lake County Coroner

Karen Albert, LCSW and Program Director at Gateway’s Treatment Center in Lake Villa, provides easy to understand insights on marijuana use and abuse for residents throughout Lake County and Northern Illinois:effects of marijuana, gateway treatment centers, drug treatment, lake county, lake county tv

  • The impact of marijuana on the brain; how it leads to addiction;
  • Its hindering effect on attention, memory and learning
  • How marijuana use can cause “failure to launch” in our teens

See it Now on YouTube!
Click here to view the segment on marijuana produced by Lake County TV.

For more information on marijuana visit RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana

Failure to Launch: Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Use

effects of marijuana use, gateway alcohol and drug treatmentMarijuana use can impair learning, memory, perception and judgment. It can lead to dulled emotions and lack of enthusiasm. Other effects of marijuana use include:

Difficulty speaking, listening effectively, retaining knowledge, problem solving and forming new concepts.

  • Reduced alertness/concentration.
  • Altered perceptions.
  • Decrease in reaction time.
  • Lower IQ for adolescents.

Research has shown that marijuana’s negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. Consequently, someone who smokes marijuana daily may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time. Not surprisingly, evidence suggests that, compared with their nonsmoking peers, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school.

A meta-analysis of 48 relevant studies—one of the most thorough performed to date—found cannabis use to be associated consistently with reduced educational attainment (e.g., grades and chances of graduating). That said, marijuana users themselves report poor outcomes on a variety of life satisfaction and achievement measures.

One study compared current and former long-term heavy users of marijuana with a control group who reported smoking cannabis at least once in their lives but not more than 50 times. Despite similar education and income backgrounds, significant differences were found in educational attainment: fewer of the heavy users of cannabis completed college, and more had yearly household incomes of less than $30,000. When asked how marijuana affected their cognitive abilities, career achievements, social lives,and physical and mental health, the majority of heavy cannabis users reported the drug’s negative effects on all of these measures. (Source: NIH)

Don’t let substance abuse stunt the growth and future happiness of someone you love.  To arrange a free, confidential consultation at a Gateway Treatment Center near you, please call (877) 505-HOPE.

 

Marijuana: No Two Highs Are The Same

marijuna effects, gateway treatment centersAn individualized experience, depending upon the user and setting, the effects and categorization of marijuana can vary from a stimulant to a depressant to a hallucinogen. The effects of marijuana can begin within a few minutes after inhaling, and can last 2 to 3 hours after initial intoxication.

Marijuana affects every user differently and those effects can depend on:

  • The person – their mood, personality, size and weight;
  • The amount taken and whether it is mixed with anything else;
  • The environment in which the drug is used.

Many users describe two phases of the marijuana high:

  • Phase 1: Initial stimulation (giddiness and euphoria)
  • Phase 2: Sedation and a pleasant tranquility

Users also report altered perceptions of distance and time along with a heightened sensitivity to sights and sounds. While some users may experience lowered inhibitions, drowsiness, and contentment, others may feel great anxiety and paranoia.

If you or someone you know has tried before to stop using marijuana before but couldn’t quit, Gateway Treatment Centers can help get life back on track. To arrange a free, confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

%d bloggers like this: