Why We Need to Start Drug Education in Grade School

The study authors completed a long term data analysis of almost 5000 youths starting from the early 1990’s, and have examined specifically the age of first experimentation with different substances, and the prevalence of continuing substance use later in life.

The results are unsurprising, and confirm other research done on adolescent drug abuse.

Some of the findings include:

  • Sixty percent of teens who start using marijuana before the age of 15 will still be using the drug 8 years later. Only 20% of teens who start after the age of 19 will continue to use 8 years later.
  • Boys start using drugs earlier, and with more frequency, and are less likely to stop.

The study authors conclude that early in life prevention programs are of paramount importance, and that waiting until kids are in junior high may well be waiting too late. They note that a significant number of kids are trying alcohol at ages of 10 and 11 and that these kids may never, at this age, have been exposed to any drug or alcohol information. They suggest late elementary school grades as a better time to start drug and alcohol educational programming.

The study results also underscore the importance of drug and alcohol education in the family, and starting from a young age. Our kids are starting to experiment earlier than we realize, yet if we can keep them from this early experimentation, they stand a much better chance to avoid the pains of later in life addiction or alcoholism.

Advertisements

The study authors completed a long term data analysis of almost 5000 youths starting from the early 1990’s, and have examined specifically the age of first experimentation with different substances, and the prevalence of continuing substance use later in life.

The results are unsurprising, and confirm other research done on adolescent drug abuse.

Some of the findings include:

  • Sixty percent of teens who start using marijuana before the age of 15 will still be using the drug 8 years later. Only 20% of teens who start after the age of 19 will continue to use 8 years later.
  • Boys start using drugs earlier, and with more frequency, and are less likely to stop.

The study authors conclude that early in life prevention programs are of paramount importance, and that waiting until kids are in junior high may well be waiting too late. They note that a significant number of kids are trying alcohol at ages of 10 and 11 and that these kids may never, at this age, have been exposed to any drug or alcohol information. They suggest late elementary school grades as a better time to start drug and alcohol educational programming.

The study results also underscore the importance of drug and alcohol education in the family, and starting from a young age. Our kids are starting to experiment earlier than we realize, yet if we can keep them from this early experimentation, they stand a much better chance to avoid the pains of later in life addiction or alcoholism.

Why Do We Lie to Kids About Drugs?

We teach them in drug education classes about the harms of drugs and alcohol, and the pains that these can bring to those that would abuse them. We teach them these things because we love them and we worry for them and we know the perils they face as they proceed through the turbulent years of adolescence.

Our intentions are good, and all we wish to do is to spare them pain; but we almost always take things too far. We scaremonger; we say all drugs are bad…equally bad, and we present worse case scenarios as commonplace occurrences.

And it works fine for a while, and they believe us…for a while. But then they get a little bit older, and they see that some people that smoke marijuana don’t seem to be experiencing all of those drastic consequences that we foretold of. They get a bit older, and they learn a bit more and they start to realize that they were lied to!

They learn that not everyone that smokes a joint becomes a junky; in fact mostly they seem to do just fine. And then we wonder why they don’t believe us when we warn them of the dangers of meth…but why should they, we can’t be trusted. We need to start teaching kids the truth about drugs so that they can be informed about the real risks and consequences of their actions. We need to teach them that marijuana is not as harmful as a lot of other drugs and that most people that use it will not become raving lunatic drug addicts. We need to teach them that there are a lot of legitimate risks associated with today’s marijuana, but we need to stay real about it, and tell them the truth. They’ll learn it for themselves eventually anyways.

And maybe if we tell them the truth about marijuana, maybe they’ll smoke it or maybe they won’t (it’s pretty unlikely that more will smoke it than do know!) but at least they will know that they have been treated with respect, told the truth and educated to make their own decisions; and maybe then they will believe us when we warn them of the real dangers of a lot of other life-destroying drugs floating about out there.

 Kids aren’t dumb, they’ll learn the truth, and they will remember being lied to.

We teach them in drug education classes about the harms of drugs and alcohol, and the pains that these can bring to those that would abuse them. We teach them these things because we love them and we worry for them and we know the perils they face as they proceed through the turbulent years of adolescence.

Our intentions are good, and all we wish to do is to spare them pain; but we almost always take things too far. We scaremonger; we say all drugs are bad…equally bad, and we present worse case scenarios as commonplace occurrences.

And it works fine for a while, and they believe us…for a while. But then they get a little bit older, and they see that some people that smoke marijuana don’t seem to be experiencing all of those drastic consequences that we foretold of. They get a bit older, and they learn a bit more and they start to realize that they were lied to!

They learn that not everyone that smokes a joint becomes a junky; in fact mostly they seem to do just fine. And then we wonder why they don’t believe us when we warn them of the dangers of meth…but why should they, we can’t be trusted. We need to start teaching kids the truth about drugs so that they can be informed about the real risks and consequences of their actions. We need to teach them that marijuana is not as harmful as a lot of other drugs and that most people that use it will not become raving lunatic drug addicts. We need to teach them that there are a lot of legitimate risks associated with today’s marijuana, but we need to stay real about it, and tell them the truth. They’ll learn it for themselves eventually anyways.

And maybe if we tell them the truth about marijuana, maybe they’ll smoke it or maybe they won’t (it’s pretty unlikely that more will smoke it than do know!) but at least they will know that they have been treated with respect, told the truth and educated to make their own decisions; and maybe then they will believe us when we warn them of the real dangers of a lot of other life-destroying drugs floating about out there.

 Kids aren’t dumb, they’ll learn the truth, and they will remember being lied to.