Illegal Drug Use Brings Together Students, Parents

Illegal Drug Use Brings Together Students, Parents
Posted by CN Staff on May 02, 2005 at 13:54:48 PT
By David Aslan and Jess Ansert
Source: Daily Targum 
New Jersey -- On a sunny mid-semester day, Kevin's parents pulled up in front of the small New Brunswick house that he shares with five other University students. As his parents got out of the car, Kevin ran downstairs to greet them each with a hug. His parents followed him upstairs to his room, saying hello to his friends sitting in the living room. They engaged in family chit chat as Kevin, who asked for his real name to be withheld, slowly closed the door to his room.
His parents paid no attention as he took out a small digital scale to weigh about a gram of dry marijuana leaves and placed it in a small plastic bag. He handed it to his parents without a second thought. He usually charges other students for the illegal plant but not his parents.This is not an unusual event for Kevin's family. For the past couple years, every member of his family uses marijuana frequently, and it's often an activity that brings them closer together.Kevin, now a 22-year-old University graduate, isn't the only one. As students make their way through high school and college, some of them experiment with drugs in the company of their parents. Many of them consider it a bonding experience, even if it only happens once or twice."It's something I want to do with my kids," said Kevin, who began smoking marijuana when he was about 16 or 17. "I come home, and I look forward to hanging out with my parents. We'll just get stoned and watch a movie or get together and have dinner."A friend of Kevin's, who graduated from Rutgers College this year and asked to be identified only as "George," said he had similar experiences with his father, a contractor from Bergen County. The 22-year-old philosophy major was spending time with his father over the summer and first debated whether or not he should offer him a marijuana cigarette. When he finally offered, his father was hesitant, but decided to go along with it anyway. "I was like, 'You wanna smoke a joint?' and he was like, 'Aw you're still using that crap?' but after a little while he was finally like, 'Alright I'll smoke a joint with you,'" George said. He though it was a positive experience because it brought him and his father onto a more equal level."It was the least father-son thing we had ever done, and it was just like something I would do with my friends," George said. "It wasn't the drugs, but the experience of the situation that was important."Although it's strongly advocated by anti-drug groups that parents play a crucial role in preventing their children from using any illicit substances, some parents may feel that it's not their business to interfere. According to The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign Web site, many parents believe "there's not much parents can do to stop their kids from 'experimenting' with marijuana." When confronted with their own child's use of marijuana, it's possible some parents would prefer to look the other way, as long as their son or daughter is being responsible and not abusing the intoxicant. According to The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a pro-marijuana advocacy group founded in 1970 and based in Washington, marijuana doesn't necessarily lead to dangerous behavior like most anti-drug advocacy groups will contend. According to the group's Web site, "There is no conclusive evidence that the effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent use of other illicit drugs. Statistically, for every 104 Americans who have tried marijuana, there is only one regular user of cocaine, and less than one user of heroin."Michelle - who is graduating this year as a double major in psychology and Spanish - said her mother never thought she was in any danger either. "She knew I was just experimenting," Michelle said. "I'm not heavy into pot. I do it once in a while. I never drive under the influence. If she saw me start to do a lot, then she would have a problem with it."  At a certain point, some parents may feel their child is old enough to use marijuana, just as they are eventually old enough to use legal intoxicants such as alcohol or tobacco. NORML thinks standards like those for legal drugs should be considered for marijuana. According to their guidelines for personal use, "Marijuana, like other drugs, is not for kids. There are many activities in our society that we permit adults to do, but forbid children, such as motorcycle riding, skydiving, signing contracts, getting married and drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco."Kevin said his parents share the same attitude. When his younger sister tried smoking pot two years ago, they didn't approve. "They wanted her to be older and more responsible," Kevin said. "They wanted her to get good grades."Parents also seem to have less of a problem with drugs lately. According to a study done by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, "today's parents see less risk in drugs like marijuana, cocaine and inhalants." The study said 11 percent of parents have reported smoking pot in the past year, while 58 percent admit to trying it in their lives.Lisa Laipman, a counselor with the Hurtado Health Center, has seen a different perspective on the practice. While some students may find the experience of using drugs with their parents to be positive, for others it can be a source of stress and anxiety. "If parents are using [a drug] with their kids as just a light-hearted event, I don't hear about it as a clinician," Laipman said. "For the people who come to me, the experience of drug use within the family is a negative one." "The problems range, sometimes drug use has interfered with a normal life, sometimes it's financial and sometimes legal," Laipman said. "A parent or sibling could go to prison. For these students, it's very difficult, very stressful."When parents feel that moderate drug use is acceptable, they may not know what sort of drugs their son or daughter is using, said Laipman. "I know parents who have been honest with their kids, telling them 'When I was in college, I tried different drugs.' That's different from using with kids," Laipman said. "The drugs themselves have changed. The potency of pot has changed. Pot today is more likely to cause academic impairment, and it may not be the same experience 30 years ago than it is today."Kevin - who graduated last May and is now applying to graduate schools - thinks there are many parents who smoke and still feel like they're supposed to keep their kids from smoking. "In some families, parents smoke, kids smoke, but the parents will scold the kids and will be hypocritical," Kevin said. "It's not the right way to run a household, but it's not the wrong way either."The pot smoking culture has a strong underground support system with hundreds of Web sites, and a popular magazine dedicated to the substance called "High Times". It seems to be easier for people under the disguise of pen and screen names to come out with their habit and discuss their experiences using marijuana. Kevin admits the practice is unusual, but he attributes that to social factors. "The first time, it was a little weird, despite the fact they knew about it, and I always knew about it. It was weird because it has societal taboo, it's not normally a family thing," Kevin said. "We got over it though, had fun, and then got really hungry."Laipman said if parents can use their experiences to guide their children towards responsible behavior, it can be beneficial."It might seem logical to you or me," Laipman said. "But many kids don't realize you can't smoke pot right before a test because it will impair your abilities. If parents can help explain this, sometimes it's helpful."Complete Title: Illegal Drug Uses Brings Together Students, ParentsSource: Daily Targum (NJ Edu)Author: David Aslan and Jess AnsertPublished: May 02, 2005Copyright: 2005 Daily TargumContact: opinions dailytargum.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #9 posted by runderwo on May 03, 2005 at 15:21:54 PT
What would be the problem with her daughter thinking it is OK to use cannabis to treat MS symptoms? Presumably her daughter knows she is seriously ill? Seriously, this is the kind of thing the dumbass prohib rhetoric costs us. Equating medical and recreational use, and further conflating use with abuse, leads to this kind of thinking where cannabis is regarded as a dangerous corrupting influence on children even when used in a medicinal context. So people leave their symptoms untreated or fork out more money for ineffective proprietary treatments, because they are so scared of the cannabis boogeyman that is just waiting for an opportunity to take over her daughter into addiction and mental illness. Such stupidity!
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on May 02, 2005 at 21:40:26 PT
I Read a Heartbreaking Story Yesterday
An MS sufferer described MS as a speed bump, "you just slow down and then keep going with your life." Even though she had heard that medical cannabis might help her, she didn't want to try it because she didn't want her daughter to think it was OK to use.
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Comment #7 posted by mayan on May 02, 2005 at 18:27:02 PT
Family Friendly
Now that many boomers are grand-parents it is not uncommon to have three generations of cannabis users in a single family. This bodes poorly for the prohibitionist as there aren't many folks left who don't recognize the fact that cannabis is harmless and even has medicinal value.THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Help Spread Dr. Griffin's 9/11 Gospel to Church Groups and Indie Media: Wesleyan Professor's Web Site, Course Draw Criticism: Preview - 9/11 Pentagon Tapes:
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Comment #6 posted by Prime on May 02, 2005 at 17:45:09 PT
I had a similar experience...
When I was 17 I went to the Live-Aid concert at JFK stadium in Philadelphia, PA. The tickets were purchased by my buddy's parents who attended the show with us. We were all alcoholics, so the gallons of booze we snuck into the event was no big deal...But when my buddy's Dad took a passing joint from a stranger, took a huge toke, and passed it over to his son (who looked as if he had just stared into the eyes of the devil himself), it changed all of our lives.From that moment forward, I knew everything we had been told about drugs was a lie.Great story, really brings back the memories.To this day, I'm almost 40, I still enjoy with one of my parents.
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Comment #5 posted by GreenJoy on May 02, 2005 at 17:33:08 PT
The Stone Unturned
 Where is the stone that is unturned? Many fine minds have expressed the most eloquent thoughts on the matter only to be ignored or lost in the cacaphony. I have this faith that somewhere, somehow a critical domino will fall. Whether by a well augered weak point or by constantly chipping away at the iceberg. When has what is good and true ever truly failed in the end? We are right. 
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Comment #4 posted by happyplant on May 02, 2005 at 16:37:00 PT
Time for a change
We need to take back what is rightfully ours our FREEDOM. The goverment keeps making all these laws for us to live by at our expense not theres. I say mandatory drug testing for any and all goverment officials, our taxes pay their salaries right. I'd say the majority of them are on something with all these bogus laws that get passed. Then we would see how hipocritical they really are. Why should they have it so easy while us real americans hide from all of the injustice that they bring upon us.
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Comment #3 posted by stoner spirit on May 02, 2005 at 15:58:39 PT:
This is an interesting article, but the prohibitionists will have a field day hanging those that take the cynic root. When is this "witch" trile going to end? It's like if you mention pot to anyone they will freek out.
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on May 02, 2005 at 14:51:59 PT
A good article
But it's going to send the prohib's into a murderous tizzy looking for a hangin tree, more money, and more power to intrude into other people's personal and private lives.It's just freakish that they think they are so much smarter and better than everyone else that they think they have a right to control the lives of others like they were so much livestock. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 02, 2005 at 13:56:15 PT
Interesting Article
This is a unique article in my opinion.
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