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Is This Good News??

December 21, 2011

Last week, there was an article published about a survey that discovered that teens are drinking alcohol less. (http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20111215/NEWS01/112150335/Survey-finds-more-teens-using-pot-fewer-drink-alcohol)  Why?  Well, it seems that all of the PSAs about the dangers of drinking and driving and the nightly news that heralds the consequences of drinking and driving have been effective and more teens now see drinking alcohol as potentially dangerous. Which is good.

BUT, the same article states that more teens are using pot because they don’t see it as dangerous. Hmmmm. This is not good? Why are teens using either? BOTH alcohol and pot are illegal for them to use. And, for very good reason – their brains aren’t fully developed and really aren’t until their late teens/early twenties. Don’t believe me? Ask a brain scientist.

However, I don’t want to get into a discussion about brain science – rather, I just want to put a few questions out there for all of us to ponder. The first question that pops into my mind: Why do teens feel the need to medicate with either drugs or alcohol? What is it about their lives that needs to be neutralized by a substance? My next question is: Where are the adults?  Where are the folks who are supposed to be there helping young people navigate the perilous waters of life? Are they setting good examples – you know – like obeying the laws themselves regarding drug and alcohol use?

I guess you’ve picked up on the fact that I don’t think the news about teen drug and alcohol use is good. In fact, I think it is tragic. But what is more tragic is the fact that the adults in the lives of teens who use these substances are failing them. All adults – notice I said all and not just parents – need to do a better job for and with our most precious resource.  To borrow a thought from Jacqueline Kennedy, if we mess up raising our most precious resource – our children – nothing else we accomplish or achieve in life individually or as a society matters. Nothing.

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