What happened recently is that a 19-year-old African at a Colorado college tried marijuana (legally) for the first time while visiting a friend during Spring Break — eating a pot-laced cookie. This was his first use of marijuana — it was severe. After getting hostile and aggressive, he went to bed but then got up in the middle of the night and jumped to his death from a fourth-floor balcony.
With this in mind, the executive director of Narconon Redwood Cliffs questions whether or not widely tolerating use of marijuana is wise for youth or adults. Angie Manson is the director of the Narconon center located in Watsonville, California.
“We must evaluate the new tolerance toward this drug against the possible harm it can do,” said Manson. “As adults and parents, we are charged with helping our young people grow up safely and the presence of a thriving marijuana industry can easily send the wrong message.”
To address the use of drugs by youth, some organizations take the view that they should teach children to use drugs “responsibly.” For example, the Drug Policy Alliance publishes a booklet called Safety First that is distributed to Parent-Teacher Associations advises, “Some psychologists argue that given the nature of our culture, teenage experimentation with legal and illegal mind-altering substances should not be considered abnormal or deviant behavior.”
According to the website for the National Association of School Psychologists, this Safety First booklet has been issued as an official association communiqué to its members and the website Marijuana.com states that this booklet has been sent to all Parent-Teacher Association groups in California.
“Our viewpoint is now and has always been one hundred eighty degrees different than this,” said Manson. “Our approach is to educate youth on the harm that results from the abuse of any drug, including alcohol, and what can be accomplished in life by being one hundred percent drug-free. We teach this in the community and we endorse the drug-free principles of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.”
The longtime director of this center, abbreviated CASA, is Joseph Califano, who wrote the book How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid. In that book, he says, “Nearly two decades of CASA research demonstrate that a child who gets through age twenty-one without smoking, abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs is virtually certain never to do so.”
Narconon Redwood Cliffs visits schools and groups all over the San Francisco Bay Area to teach kids about the way drug abuse can bring about lasting harm, and how having goals in life help one stay sober and free from harm or addiction. Each year, their Narconon drug educators provide drug education classes to civic groups, schools, youth clubs and other interested groups, typically reaching more than 20,000 people a year.
To further help youth stay sober, Narconon has created free or low-cost drug education materials for parents and communities, including: 10 Things Parents May Not Know about Marijuana, 10 Things Parents May Not Know about Prescription Drug Abuse, and Talking to Kids About Drugs and 10 Things Your Friends May Not Know about Drugs.
“We’re doing everything we can to enable young people to grow up safe and drug-free,” said Manson. “We strongly believe that our studied, evaluated drug education method is an effective way to help kids stay productive and safe from the tragedies of overdose or addiction. We believe that this is what parents truly want help with.”