Legalization of marijuana puts parents of teens on notice
Marijuana is in the news, not only due to the increasing availability of medicinal forms in communities across the country, but because several states might follow Colorado’s lead and legalize the drug.
For some, the discussion downplays or even avoids mentioning how marijuana addiction ensnares young men and women in their formative years. Neglecting to bring up this important topic can endanger the life of your teen. If anything, the issue of legalization has overshadowed the harmful qualities of marijuana itself.
“There is a common misconception that marijuana is not addictive,” says Dr. Thomas Wright, chief medical officer at Rosecrance, one of the country’s leading teen substance abuse treatment centers. “Marijuana is indeed addictive, and teenagers become addicted to substances more quickly than adults and, therefore, are the most vulnerable.”
Wright feels that a light-handed approach to marijuana can cause teens to think they can experiment with the drug risk-free. That’s a dangerous thought, according to Wright. “There is no safe level of substance use among teenagers,” he says. “Teens’ brains are still developing and substances can cause permanent damage.”
According to Wright, new research published in the journal Neuroscience found that the use of marijuana can cause structural damage to the brain. In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse outlines several points that can help parents discuss marijuana with their children:
-Marijuana is an addictive drug: According to the NIDA, about 9 percent of all first-time users can become addicted. For teens in this group, the number jumps to 17 percent.
-Marijuana addicts are the majority: Pot is the drug of choice for approximately 4.3 million of the 7.3 million people who abused or were addicted to an illegal substance in 2012. The percentages for teens are even higher: 74 percent for addicts ages 12-14 and 76 for those ages 15- 17.
-Marijuana is deadly behind the wheel: Marijuana use affects judgment, alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time when driving. The use of pot also makes it difficult to judge distances and react to signals. Most important, marijuana shows up in the bloodstream of about 14 percent of drivers in fatal accidents, often in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
-Marijuana’s effects on attention, motivation, memory and learning can ruin your teen’s academic success.
Parents often shy away from discussing substance abuse with their children for various reasons, including lack of knowledge and lack of a strategy. In some cases, they simply fear overplaying their role as parent and interfering too much in their children’s lives. Wright, who specializes in working with adolescents who have a co-existing or secondary diagnosis in addition to an addiction disorder, says concerns about excessive parenting are invalid. In fact, he says, teens are looking for knowledge and backup so that when faced with the offer of an addictive substance, they will be equipped to handle the situation.
“Through decades of experience, we understand that teenagers don’t want to become addicted to substances; they want to have healthy lives,” says Wright. “Teenagers want their parents to actively parent and give them the guidance and support they need, and that includes how to navigate what is happening around substances today. Parents should ask what their teens are doing, address the pressures they are facing, act immediately when they suspect their teen is in trouble and advocate for help in their teen needs it.”
Teenagers believe legalization of marijuana encourages experimentation and may lead to further drug use
The legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use is happening in states across the nation. These changes may be affecting the way teenagers think about marijuana and other harmful substances. A new study commissioned by Rosecrance shows that the legalization of marijuana may encourage teenagers to experiment with the drug, along with other substances.
The online study, conducted by Wakefield Research among 400 U.S. teenagers ages 13-17, found that 76 percent of teens believe that with the legalization of marijuana, teenagers may be more likely to experiment with the drug. The study also found that 73 percent of teenagers believe having easier access to marijuana may accelerate teens in trying other drugs, and 61 percent said that teenagers who use marijuana are more likely to try heroin, a potentially fatal drug.
“There is a common misconception that marijuana is not an addictive substance,” said Thomas Wright, MD, the Chief Medical Officer at Rosecrance, one of the country’s leading teen substance abuse treatment centers. “Marijuana is addictive, and teenagers become addicted to substances more quickly than adults and therefore are the most vulnerable. There is no safe level of substance use among teenagers. Their brains are still developing, and substances can cause permanent damage.”
Teenagers need to be reminded of the danger that comes with even occasional substance use. In fact, new research published in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that casual use of marijuana can cause structural damage to the brain. Additionally, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that marijuana use may lead to an increased risk for heart-related complications.
“Through decades of experience working with teens, we understand that teenagers don’t want to become addicted to substances; they want to live a healthy life,” said Dr. Wright. “Teenagers want their parents to actively parent and give them the guidance and support they need, and that includes how to navigate what is happening around substances today. Parents should ask what their teens are doing, address the pressures they are facing, act immediately when they suspect their teen is in trouble, and advocate for help if their teen needs it.”
In this confusing environment, it is more important than ever that parents to talk to their teenage children about the realities of substance use. Despite what is happening today, parents need to keep addictive substances out of the hands of children, whether or not adults have legal access to them.
Rosecrance offers therapeutic summer camps at the Berry Campus for children and teens
Camps address behavioral issues through fun and educational activities
ROCKFORD – The Rosecrance Berry Campus will offer a summer-long series of Wellness Camps tailored for children and teens struggling with self-esteem, social isolation or other emotional issues who may need an alternative to traditional summer programs. Participants will learn how to build boundaries, make friends and have fun while taking control of their emotions and managing them productively.
Camps will be held each week between June 9th and August 12th at the Rosecrance Berry Campus, 8616 Northern Avenue in Rockford. Camps run for three or four days.
Ten different camps offer students in grade school through high school an opportunity to address specific issues in groups that focus on their individual needs. Each camp has a unique theme with activities designed to help campers build healthy relationships, use creativity as a form of expression, develop leadership skills, prepare for school, set career goals and demonstrate good sportsmanship.
Rosecrance also has a camp for parents to learn how to understand and respond appropriately to their children’s behaviors. Topics include crisis management, substance use, communication and relationship building.
All camps are facilitated by licensed and certified behavioral health therapists. Cost is $150 a day, with scholarship opportunities available. Camps are covered through Medicaid and may be eligible for reimbursement by some insurance companies. For a complete listing of camps and registration information, visit rosecrance.org/summercamp.
Rosecrance’s Berry Campus offers services for children and adolescents including: mental health screenings, child and family therapy, intensive outpatient programs, community support, and 24/7 screening and assessment services.
Rosecrance McHenry Co. launches summer camp series to support wellness for children and teens
Camps address behavioral issues through fun and educational activities
CRYSTAL LAKE – Rosecrance McHenry County is offering a summer series of Wellness Camps tailored to meet the needs of children and teens struggling with self-esteem, social isolation or other emotional issues who may need an alternative to traditional summer programs.
Wellness camps focus on creating a fun and interactive environment in which children and teens who deal with behavioral health problems can learn how to empower themselves and effectively manage their behaviors.
Rosecrance summer camps focus on relationships, self-esteem, leadership, problem solving, and personal achievement. Camps are five days and run Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm at the Rosecrance Crystal Lake Office, 422 Tracy Court. Camps begin the weeks of June 9, July 7 and August 11.
Cost is $150 a day or $700 for the five-day program. Camps are covered by Medicaid and may be eligible for reimbursement by some insurance companies. Program includes daily group therapy, art and music therapy, meditation/yoga, lunch and snacks, wellness and nutrition education, and medication administration if needed.
All camps are facilitated by licensed and certified clinicians. For a complete listing of camps and registration information, visit rosecrance.org/summercamp.
Rosecrance has two offices in McHenry County providing evidence-based outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment for adults and adolescents.
Dr. Thomas Wright speaks about the legalization of marijuana on The Daily Buzz
Dr. Thomas Wright, Rosecrance Chief Medical Officer, was featured May 29 on The Daily Buzz discussing a new study by Rosecrance that found teenagers think that legalization will cause more teens to try marijuana and move on to other drugs more quickly. He also discussed what parents can do to make sure their teens are making the right choices when it comes to substance use. See the interview here: