U.S. Government Makes Effort to Prevent Teen Drug Abuse

The office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has recentlyannounced the launch of a new outreach effort focusing onmarijuana’s negative impact on teen learning and academicsuccess.


The “Marijuana and Learning” outreach effortprovides parents and teens with information about marijuana’seffects on learning, drug abuse prevention, fact sheets, andsources for help. It is a part of a larger marijuana educationinitiative launched by ONDCP in 2002 to chase away myths andmisconceptions about the drug among teens and their parents.


An “Open Letter to Parents,” signed by leadersin the fields of education, health, and youth drug prevention, isone of the main features of the efforts.  The letter warnsparents of the increased risk for drug use during the high schoolyears and of the impact that marijuana can have on a teen’s abilityto learn and succeed.


Research shows that students with an averageof ‘D’ or below are more than four times as likely to have usedmarijuana in the past year as teens who have an average of ‘A.’ Thelatest National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that almost 4million youth aged 12 to 17 (16 percent) had used marijuana atleast once in the past year, and nearly 14 percent of youth whobought marijuana, did so on school property.

John P. Walters, director of the National DrugControl Policy commented that “marijuana use is especiallyproblematic during the peak learning years.”  He added thatparents have a major role in helping their children achieve goodgrades and the use of drug prevention tactics help to do that.


“The use of alcohol and drugs by studentsclearly impacts academic performance and eventually robs America ofthousands of our most vital citizens – our youth – who do notmeet their fullest potential …we need every student performing tohis or her fullest.  We need to turn our attention to thisimportant issue to ensure that students urn away from underagedrinking and marijuana use,” said Rod Paige, secretary ofeducation.


According to Carden Johnston, president of theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, teens may experiment with marijuanafor a number of reasons ranging from peer pressure, school, orfamily related stress to depression and self-esteem issues. He also maintained that parents need to be able to recognize signsof drug use such as mood swings, sleeping habits, attitude changes,declining grades, truancy, and temper outbursts in order to helptheir children.


For more information on marijuana’s negativeimpact on teen learning, other ONDCP drug prevention efforts, andto view the “Open Letter to Parents,” please visitwww.MediaCampaign.com, or www.TheAntiDrug.com.