According to the most recent Monitoring the Future (MTF) study, illicit drug use among high school students is on the rise. This is particularly due to the popularity of marijuana. Pot use had declined from the late 1990's to the mid-to-late 2000's but as of the 2011 MTF Report, it has been on the rise for the last few years. Nearly 20% of all high school students and 22.6 percent of those in their senior year have used marijuana in the past month. The daily usage rate has also increased in the past four to five years.
When students see drug use as dangerous, fewer of them abuse drugs. But in the last few years, the perception of risk has gone down. It's understandable that when fewer students think drug use is hazardous, more will start using drugs like marijuana.
College students are also abusing marijuana more frequently as evidenced by several news stories about arrests involving college football players. In Missouri recently, three football players were arrested and accused of smoking marijuana on campus. The team's top football recruit and two other freshman teammates face misdemeanor charges after being arrested on October 3, 2012.
With the legalization of medical marijuana in seventeen US states, there is much more marijuana in circulation. And in the November 2012 elections, two states voted to make recreational marijuana use legal for adults over 21.
However, these laws seem to overlook the many undesirable side effects of marijuana.
List of Marijuana Effects/Side Effects
- Can be addictive
- Impairs memory
- Affects judgment
- Weakens ability to learn
- Reduces coordination,
- Reduces blood pressure
- Attention problems
- Alters sense of time and space
In high doses, marijuana can cause hallucinations, delusions, memory problems, and disorientation.
These effects are most pronounced on younger students, and the fact that eighth graders in this survey reported an increase in daily, monthly and past year marijuana use does not bode well for their futures.
Need for Drug Education at Earlier Ages
The prevalence of the misconception that marijuana is harmless and it does not lead to other drug use may be what is driving this increase. This makes it even more vital for effective drug education programs to reach our youth, especially at younger ages. By the time they have reached eighth grade, too many are already smoking pot.
Narconon Offers Effective Drug Education Curriculum
Narconon offers an effective drug education curriculum that can be used in conjunction with other drug education programs, or as a standalone program. It contains an easy-to-use lesson plan guide and session worksheets that get right to the point. There are video sessions that focus on the two most critical issues among young students today: marijuana use and Ecstasy, and other "designer" drugs. There are six sessions in all which give students key data to help them decide not to use drugs. Each section has video sessions, a full educator guide with lesson plans, and session worksheets.
The curriculum includes 2 sessions focused on Marijuana the Myth; and four sessions on Xtasy, the Real Story. Basic facts about drug use are covered, giving students more awareness of the likely result of using drugs.
As well as the student sessions, each kit includes a teacher DVD, which contains a description of the unique approach used by Narconon; a guide for how to use the program with your students; and some eye-opening insights about teenagers and drugs.