The use of drugs and mind-alternating substances has been a part of society for decades. The ‘high’ that people attain from the use of such substances is very attractive and exciting however, the effects of this use are minimized. Particularly for youth, a group of individuals who are seeking independence and experimentation, drug use represents the balance between taking risks and taking responsibility for one’s actions. However, the developmental processes of adolescents are known to not encompass the maturity required to fully think through such decisions. As such, the use of a ‘smaller-scale’ drug like marijuana is even more minimized. The purpose of this paper is to discuss what the risks of using marijuana are for youths, why they are the most affected, how this problem has progressed over the last three decades, and what preventative measures and treatment options are in place. It will also discuss what schools, parents, and government agencies could be doing to help improve the issue, and the impact that this issue is having on society.
The Risks for Marijuana Use
It is a common belief among today’s youth that marijuana is a low risk drug and that using it is harmless to their health (4). This widespread misconception is a large factor in why marijuana use is so regularly accepted by today’s youth. The percentage of young people using marijuana in Canada is one of the highest in the world, with Ontario sitting among the leaders in that percentage (CAMH). According to a survey done by the Canadian Public Health Association, “Marijuana use represents 90% of the illegal drug use among students” (CPHA), 2012 CP). With so many Canadian youth blindly abusing a substance with no real understan...
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...ssures to be the best they can be academically. With all these pressures of adolescence on the rise, more and more teens are falling prey to the alluring “high” that allows a temporary leave from their problems and stress. Because teens lack the maturity and knowledge to understand long term consequences, they tend not to think about the down falls that they will face as a result of the drug use. This is especially true when it come to marijuana, as it is seen by so many as the harmless drug. With the increased use of marijuana by youth over the last three decades, it is imperative that better preventative measures, and firmer penalties, be put in place to educate and raise awareness concerning the risks and dangerous side effects that marijuana use can have. Only once society has put these preventative measures in to action, will there be an effective change seen.
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