ACDE brochure helps parents talk to their children about marijuana


Communications Dept., (212) 595-5810 Ext. 7854

For Immediate Release




(New York, April 2) — In an

important addition to the front line of defense against drug abuse, a program which helps

parents discuss the dangers of marijuana use with their children is now available through

the American Council for Drug Education (ACDE).

Talking To Your Child About

Marijuana offers background information and specific suggestions to help parents engage in

meaningful conversations with adolescents about marijuana, an often misunderstood drug. To

obtain a copy of the literature, contact ACDE at 1-800-488-DRUG; or by mail, send $1 to

cover postage and handling to: ACDE, 164 W. 74th Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10023.

“Many parents resist talking

with their children about marijuana because they may have experimented with the drug, and

they fear the inconsistency in their message,” says Martha Gagn�, Director of ACDE.

“But an open discussion, allowing children to learn from your experiences, can

actually make it easier for youngsters to relate to your message. Of course, you can

relate just as well if you never used marijuana. In either case, the parent-child dialogue

is the crucial front line of defense against drugs.”

Key Ingredients:

Observing, Listening, Questioning, Probing

The literature emphasizes that the

key ingredients in carrying on discussions about marijuana are observing, listening,

questioning and probing. “Create a climate in which your child feels comfortable

approaching you and expressing feelings,” Ms. Gagne explains.

“Listen to what your child

has to say before formulating a response, and always leave the door open for future


Specific topics to discuss with

younger children include the side effects of marijuana and how to select supportive

friends who are not users of drugs. In speaking with teens, the material suggests that

parents focus on the dependence of marijuana and dealing with stress without resorting to


“The pamphlet provides the

information to carry on such conversations,” Ms. Gagne’ explains. “We show that,

among other effects, marijuana impairs memory and the ability to concentrate, slows

reflexes and coordination and causes respiratory problems. In addition, we explain the

gateway theory, which means that those who smoke marijuana are predisposed to go on and

experiment with more powerful and dangerous drugs.”

Statistical information provided

which would assist parents includes the rise in adolescent marijuana use in the 1990s, the

greater potency of the drug than in the past and the drop in the age of onset, according

to Ms. Gagne’. “In a brief, easy to follow format, we provide all the tools parents

need to carry on this crucial conversation, and suggest a variety of possible ways to

initiate what can be a difficult dialogue,” says Ms. Gagne’.

Talking To Your Child About

Marijuana is part of ACDE’s Drug Awareness Series, which includes information on Tobacco,

Alcohol, Inhalants, Cocaine & Crack, Methamphetamine, Heroin and other drugs. It also

offers literature on such important issues as Drugs & Pregnancy and Drugs, Alcohol

& The Workplace. For a complete catalogue, contact ACDE at 1-800-488-DRUG.

Founded in 1977, the American

Council for Drug Education (ACDE) produces and distributes a wide range of scientifically

based drug education and prevention materials for schools, the workplace and the general

public. ACDE reaches more than 200 million people annually through print, broadcast media

and film. The Council operates a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential drug help and referral

service, 1-800-DRUG-HELP.

Since 1995, ACDE has been an

affiliate of Phoenix House, the nation’s leading non-profit substance abuse treatment and

prevention organization. Phoenix House treats more than 3,000 adolescents and adults in

outpatient and residential programs in New York, New Jersey, Texas and California. Founded

in 1967, Phoenix House has treated more than 70,000 people — saving lives and

strengthening families and communities.

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