"There is nothing wrong with smoking marijuana -- it helps me concentrate in school -- it's harmless, natural, comes from a plant -- it's used as medicine by doctors -- it's safer than pain pills -- it can't kill you."
These are arguments we counselors increasingly hear from adolescents who have been caught using or possessing marijuana. This dangerous trend is directly related to our society becoming more accepting of marijuana as a "medicine" rather than a dangerous and addictive drug.
According to the 2013 national survey of adolescent attitude and drug use, 60 percent of our high school seniors consider marijuana to be harmless, and 6 percent of them use it daily, 23 percent used in the previous month (www.monitoringthefuture.org).
So why should we care that our kids are smoking a "little pot?" Because there is now solid scientific evidence that marijuana use beginning in adolescence can result in long-term brain damage, addiction, and psychotic mental states.
The more immediate type consequences include short-term memory loss, reduced motivation, emotional instability, and unsafe driving patterns (www.nida.gov).
This is why every national and state medical and psychiatric association is opposed to using smoked marijuana as medicine.
What is the net impact of marijuana use on our children's and adolescents lives and futures?
Their ability to learn is reduced, their grades suffer, they get discouraged, use more drugs, get arrested, give up on school and themselves, and drop out.
In 2013, 25 percent of high school students in Florida dropped out before graduating. What kind of future will they have in today's competitive world?
How do we stop this destruction of our children's lives? We need to educate them that marijuana is not medicine, and that it can ruin their lives.
Vote "no" on Amendment 2 in November.