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Parents Have a Responsibility to Understand the Potential Problems
Parenting Matters Minute: Marijuana Use in Teens
We must be aware that tobacco and alcohol are drugs and should be taken just as seriously as marijuana, cocaine and LSD. In fact, tobacco, alcohol and marijuana are all considered "gateway" drugs; that is, a person who has experience with them is more likely to try other drugs.
Many children have had their first drink by the time they are six years-old. The following statistics about high school seniors should indicate the scope of the problem and the importance of being aware:
- More than 90% have tried alcohol.
- 65% have had a drink in the past month.
- More than half of all boys and a third of all girls have some experience with alcohol by the time they are 12 years old.
- 20% smoke daily; 30% smoke sometime during the month.
- Up to 20% also use chewing tobacco or snuff.
- More than half have tried marijuana; about 25% have used it recently.
- Cocaine and crack use is a major problem; more than 13% of adolescents have tried cocaine and 4% have used crack. It is very accessible.