Stories about: adoloscent substance abuse

4 things you and your teen may not know about marijuana — but should

4 things to know about marijuana

Massachusetts is now among eight U.S. states to legalize marijuana for adult (21+) recreational use, a decision that’s created a relaxed stance on use of the drug and left many parents worried. The simple, clear and empowering message we suggest parents share with teens is that avoidance of marijuana is best and here’s why.

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No place like home? One in four LGB teens are driven out

Tragic stories of teens being bullied and ostracized at school have been saturating media headlines. But while these tales are making news, there’s another story to be told: that of homosexual teens’ estrangement—even banishment—from their families.

According to the recent Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS), one in four teens who identify themselves as lesbian or gay are homeless, and a study in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) says that it’s more likely that these teens are being driven out of their homes by their parents. Supporting this are findings from studies of homeless youth living apart from their families. One such study shows that 73 percent of homeless gay and lesbian teens indicated that they were homeless because their parents disapproved of their sexual orientation.

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'Fake drugs' pose real threats

A host of marijuana like substances are legal and widely available in the US
A host of marijuana like substances are legal and widely available in the US

K2. Spice. Zohai. Genie. Have you heard your kids using any of these words lately? If so, they may be smoking a legal, herbal “incense,” commonly misused as a marijuana substitute.

When inhaled, the products produce a similar experience to smoking marijuana and are available at tobacco and head shops for roughly the same price as their street drug equivalent. But unlike pot, these “herbal supplements” are currently legal in 45 states and are untraceable by tests designed to detect cannabis, making their use easy to conceal.

“The main problem with K2, which is similar to problems we saw in the 1980s with designer drugs, is people have been able to alter the molecules of illegal drugs just enough to create a substance that replicates the effects of the drugs, without breaking the law,” says Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Adolescent Substance Abuse Program. “But legal or not, they’re still psychoactive substances and carry a lot of the same risks.”

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