Marijuana, the Most Commonly Used Drug
As NIDA reports, it’s “the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States.” It’s not that I haven’t been hearing about pot (or weed, skunk, Acapulco gold, tea, reefer, or any of the other terms it’s known by). This MSN video reported that pot use is up among baby boomers these days.
I occasionally discuss marijuana use with other parents since I have a 21-year-old. Although statistics say the numbers have been decreasing, pot smoking seems to be popular with the younger crowd in my area. Opinions among parents I’ve polled seem to run the gamut from “Everyone does it at that age. They’ll grow out of it” to true concern.
A counselor recently told me that today's pot is different from what the flower children of the 1960’s smoked. For one thing, it’s stronger today, which led her to believe it really does qualify as a “gateway” drug. She said that who are experimenting often think, “Wow, if I feel so good on this stuff, I wonder what a different drug might get me.” I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s scary.
Then there’s the standard body of thought that daily use can lead to “suboptimal functioning,” to quote NIDA again. The organization also holds that long-term use can lead to addiction, or at least to increased anxiety and depression.
In my local paper today, a 20-year-old that attended high school with my son was arrested along with his parents for having a large cache of marijuana. The man’s brother, in a nearby town, was also arrested and charged with intent to distribute and other crimes. He had a number of guns in his house and $15,000. The 20-year-old and his parents could get seven years in prison, the article said. The 27-year-old brother, who had already been jailed for distributing pot, was expected to get up to 26 years.
Pot can decimate lives, too.