Feb. 13, 2021- All the evidence, for decades, shows that the drugs that children under 17 or 18 years old are most likely to use are marijuana, alcohol and tobacco. That’s where my education would focus. With teaching about other drugs at that age, you are distracting them and using scare tactics with them. If you’re doing the education because you’re concerned about the health of the people who you’re talking to, then you’re talking about alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.

For marijuana, the major effect that young people have to worry about is taking too much of it [which can prompt paranoia and anxiety]. I would make sure I explained to them that the difference between the oral route and smoking in terms of onset, the effects and how long the effects will last, and make sure they understand all of that really, really well. With alcohol, I’d make sure they understand the sedating effects of it when you have too much, too rapidly. I’d make sure they understand what it means to vomit, when you’ve been drinking … that’s telling you to stop, because now you’ve had enough. That’s your mechanism to let you know that it’s getting really serious now.

And with tobacco, I’d tell them about the data. The effects of tobacco are not so immediate — the ones that we’re concerned about, like cancer. At first, you might think you’re good, but then later in life, these things start to show up. As a young person, you might not see any of these effects. So we would warn about cancer and those sorts of things — young people rarely see those effects right away, and so I’d be real with them about that.



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