Up in Smoke – Why Pot Shouldn’t Be Your Biggest Concern
Pot and Drug Use Amongst Teens
I consider myself an extroverted introvert. I am outgoing when needed but prefer to quietly sit, mind my own business and listen to what others have to say. I try my hardest to bite my tongue, not wanting to jump into a conversation that I am not part of (although sitting three feet from) and not wanting to mistakenly call the person an f-ing idiot if what they are saying is completely (and utterly) ridiculous. Most of the time, I can keep quiet. Sometimes, I cannot.
I was recently trying to mind my own business, trying to tune out two mothers who were sitting behind me at basketball practice. They were blabbering on and on about their husbands, the huge sale at Nordstrom and their kids. After a few minutes, their conversation turned to illegal drugs. More specifically, pot.
Both women have teens the same age as mine. Both women are apparently clueless when it comes to said teenage children and what they need to be worrying about as parents. According to these women, pot is the most illicit drug on the streets because…wait for it…we don’t live in an area where people who use meth live; we don’t live in an area where homeless people can introduce them to crack; we don’t have kids in our schools that have been introduced to heroin and cocaine.
What. The. Hell.
I seriously had no clue people- more specifically parents- could be so freaking clueless to the world going on around them. These women are obviously spending more times scouring the sales racks at Nordstrom than watching and reading the news. True we live in a town where gated communities and golf courses are more prevalent than a homeless person. True we don’t live in an area that is the usual backdrop town for how meth is depicted in the movies and on television. But the blindness of these women- thinking that gated communities keep out the meth, crack, heroin and cocaine was shocking. Thinking that pot is the most illicit drug our children will come into contact with is parenting with their head stuck (deeply) in the sand.
I could not bite my tongue.
I turned around and asked them why they were more concerned about pot than they were heroin, meth, crack and cocaine, as well as, the medicine in their medicine cabinets, alcohol and the fake crap such as bath salts, etc. Their response: it’s cheap.
I rolled my eyes so hard, I got a headache.
I am not writing this to condone the use of pot. I am writing this because there are obviously parents who are clueless to the real world and what their children are doing in it. Having said that, this is not the 1980s. Pot is not the horrible beast that the D.A.R.E. program told us it was. If you are parenting your children thinking that the big, bad boogey monster (aka pot) is going to come and destroy your child’s life while ignoring the household items kids today are snorting, huffing, and smoking while being ignorant to the fact that yes, heroin, meth and crack are prevalent in our town, you are going to- sooner than later- face major parenting dilemmas.
News flash parents: Meth, cocaine, heroin and other hardcore drugs out there are all prevalent in every town, city, and state. And your medicine cabinets are full of over the counter and prescription cocktails that the kids today love to chug, snort and inject. So for anyone to sit and claim that pot is the most illicit drug their child(ren) will come into contact with…wake up to the reality of life around you.
As a parent of five, two being teenagers, pot is at the bottom of the totem poll when it comes to things I worry about. Now, that does not mean that I would condone them smoking it but it does mean that I am more worried about them getting drunk and driving or riding in a car with someone who has been drinking. Point being, there are way more dangerous drugs out there, all of which have the potential to cause my children more harm than smoking a joint.
Parents need to wake up to the notion that drugs- illegal, prescription and over the counter medication- is a huge problem that is prevalent in all middle and high schools. As parents it is our job to be talking to our kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. As parents, it is our job to open our naive eyes to the fact that every child- no matter where you live- will be offered drugs and peer pressure can overwhelm even the smartest kids.
It’s time American parents wake up to the realities of today’s world. Pot is not a gateway drug. Pot is not cheaper than any other drug. Pot is not the drug that should be at the top of your worry list. Heroin use is sweeping through affluent communities. Meth is destroying entire towns. Teenagers are facing an ever present, in your face culture of temptation which if not talked about, will destroy any hope for a bright future.
As I talked to the mothers behind me at practice, they kept repeating over and over that their children attend a private school which is isolated from the problems public schools are facing. Really? You think spending $45,000 a year on private school is isolating your child from the dangers of drugs? Think again. In our school district, a majority of drug related crimes that occur on campus are at those isolated, private schools. And a majority of those drug related crimes are for hardcore drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Money does not keep your children safe. Openly discussing drugs and drug use is what keeps your children safe. Removing the affluent blinders from your eyes is what will keep your child safe. Letting go of your ignorant, my child is better than that attitude is what will keep your children safe.
The conversation I tried having with the women went nowhere. I should have stayed quiet and dealt with my eye-rolling migraine when I got home. The women continued to believe their children were safe, that pot was the boogy monster and probably left thinking I was a stoner out to get their kids.
It’s these kinds of beliefs that worry me about my children’s safety. While I and most of us do the right thing and openly talk to our kids about the real world, there are parents raising kids with no clue of what reality looks like. Kids are always going to be kids. They will make stupid decisions. They will go to a party and drink. They will be tempted by their closest friends to just try it. As a Mom, I hope that my kids are smart enough to remember that one stupid decision made can alter their entire future. As a Mom, I hope that my kids feel comfortable enough to call me if they drink at a party instead of getting into a car. As a Mom, I hope my kids are smarter than those private school teens who think living in a glass house will protect them from the shit storm of life and temptations.
Pot is not destroying our youth. Parenting behind a false sense of security is destroying it. Money, gated communities and affluence doesn’t protect your kids. It gives a false sense of security. It sets them up to be unprotected when they are faced with a real world, peer pressure induced decision. And if you don’t do your job as a parent because you believe your kid is immune and protected from the world around them…well…good luck. I’d rather find out my kids smoked a joint than snorted a line of coke or put a needle into their arm.
That’s my parenting reality and it should be yours as well.
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