ACDE brochure helps parents talk to their children about marijuana

Contact: 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 conversations.”

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 drugs.

“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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