My teen is smoking WEED!

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My teen is smoking WEED!Few things stress out parents more than the thought of their teenager using drugs. The recent discovery that marijuana use is on the increase in Canada has done nothing to soothe parents’ anxiety.

A recent survey from UNICEF shows that Canada has the highest rate of youth marijuana use in the western world. Of the 11, 13 and 15 year olds surveyed, 28 per cent of them reported using marijuana at least once in the past year.  This statistic was mirrored in a 2011 cross-Canada report on Student Alcohol and Drug Use that found 16.7 to 32.4 per cent of students from grades 7 to 12 had used marijuana.

Marijuana is the most commonly used drug by teenagers, after alcohol. It is widely believed that today’s marijuana is not the drug of the 1960s, and that the weed kids are smoking today is much stronger, up to 10-25 times stronger. This leaves parents with the fear that their kids are smoking a high-octane form of marijuana that will lead them down the path to ruin.

If you believe your teen is experimenting with drugs, make every effort to keep the lines of communication open. Talk with them about their drug use, provide them with information, and discuss their perspective on safe use versus unsafe use. Ask them how they would know if they had a problem with marijuana, and what they would do if they did.

If you fear your child has a serious problem with drug use, look for concrete behavioural and physical changes.

Signs your child may have a serious drug problem

  • Suddenly doing worse in school
  • Changes in attitude towards participation in sports or other formerly favourite activities
  • Changes in weight or physical appearance
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Ignoring former friends and/or hanging around with a new crowd all of a sudden
  • Stealing, selling possessions, or borrowing to get money to buy drugs

As parents, our increasing lack of control over our aging children’s choices and behaviour can be a frightening experience, leaving us feeling powerless to help those we love so much. If you suspect that there is more to your son or daughter’s drug use than casual experimentation and they are showing any of the above signs, it would be wise to seek additional support from your Employee and Family Assistance Program.

Our trained counsellors can help you:

  • Maintain engagement and dialogue with your teen
  • Put some support systems in place
  • Connect you to Alcohol and Drug Services in your community for long-term support

Don’t turn a blind eye to your teen’s drug use. Let them know that you are there for them, and will help them up when they’re down. Together, you can get through this.

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