Friday, September 7, 2012

Parents Find Talking with Kids about Drugs Complicated by Legalization Measures

Parents are finding it more difficult to have discussions with their children about why they shouldn’t use drugs, as a growing number of states are allowing medical marijuana, or considering legalizing recreational use of the drug, the Associated Press reports.

Colorado and Washington State will vote on legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults on November 6. Currently, 17 states have legalized medical marijuana. More than a dozen states, and many cities, no longer have criminal penalties for small-scale possession of marijuana, or have made it a low-priority crime for law enforcement.

Parent-child conversations about marijuana “have become extraordinarily complicated,” said Stephen Pasierb, President of The Partnership at, a national non-profit organization helping parents and families solve the problem of teen substance abuse. Legalization and medical use of marijuana have “created a perception among kids that this is no big deal,” Pasierb said. “You need a calm, rational conversation, not yelling and screaming, and you need the discipline to listen to your child.”

A survey released last month by The Partnership at suggests teen marijuana use has become a normalized behavior. Only 26 percent agree with the statement, “In my school, most teens don’t smoke marijuana,” down from 37 percent in 2008.

On the 2010 Iowa Youth Survey 76% of the 11th graders said they believe it is dangerous to use marijuana and 95% of them believe it is wrong to use marijuana. Finally, 3% of the local 11th graders reported using marijuana in the past 30 days. These statistics show that marijuana use is not a large problem at this time in Van Buren County, but it is something that we as a community need to stay aware of and continue to educate our children about the dangers of using marijuana. These conversations are necessary as 49 % of local 11th graders reported that it is very easy or easy to get marijuana in their community.

For information on how to talk with your children about marijuana please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or via email at Check out, the coalition’s website and blog at or visit the coalitions Face Book page at Van Buren County SAFE Coalition.

No comments: