Is the pot culture different than alcohol among teens?

Sheila Dunnells
Addiction Medicine
Parents should know that the social culture for pot in high school differs from the social culture for alcohol use. Pot use is accepted on a daily basis, and often smoked between classes. At the end of the day, confirmed potheads cannot concentrate on much, let alone chemistry or higher math, and a-motivational syndrome takes hold. On the other hand, alcohol use among teens, unlike pot, is usually relegated to parties and it is rarely brought into school. 

Teens initially use pot and smoke cigarettes to fit in with the crowd. Sadly, most young people are introduced to drugs by an older sibling or cousin. Having observed twenty-five years of teen behavior, hanging with the “druggies” stands-in for team activities. Even the best athlete or scholar usually can’t continue to perform once smoking becomes part of his or her routine. If your child is a non-participant in school activities, they are at great risk of joining the not-so-elite club that welcomes everyone, as long as everyone is smoking. 

At first, the government targeted pot as a gateway drug. Experts believed that recreational use of pot would eventually propel kids into using harder drugs. Today, pot smokers are using it to such a degree that it is not a gateway drug to something else; it can stand alone as a highly addictive drug. As parents, realize it is not a benign drug; it does slow the user down; concentrating is difficult and, yes, as with anything that gives pleasure, it has an addictive component to it. After all, there is a reason kids call it chronic.

It is difficult to find consensus on alcohol or pot use statistics. Most kids think it is cool to lie so the school comes out of the study looking like an enormous party school. Some agencies report that Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug used by teens today. Perhaps more frightening is the binge drinking among alcohol users. 

The antidote to drugs is helping children develop a strong sense of self, faith in the family's rules and mores, respect for their parents, and participation in outside activities in which a young person can excel, feel good about, and enjoy. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.