Parent Guide for Drug Prevention 2021

Parenting can be the greatest job on earth—and the toughest. You want your children to be healthy, but you worry about what they will do when faced with the decision to try drugs or alcohol.

This guide offers information that can help you raise children who understand the risks of substance use. You may read it from front to back like a book, or pick a topic from the Table of Contents and go directly to that page. This guide includes:

  • An overview of substance use among children, youth, and young adults;
  • Descriptions of some substances young people may use;
  • A look at risk factors that may make children, youth, and young adults try alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, and protective factors that help offset those risks;
  • Suggestions for how to talk to young people about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, tailored to their age group; and
  • Tips on what to do if you suspect your child is using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Please note that “substances” or “drugs” in this guide refer to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs collectively.

Marijuana and Teens
Many teenagers try marijuana and some use it regularly. Teenage marijuana use is at its highest level in 30 years, and today’s teens are more likely to use marijuana than tobacco. Many states allow recreational use of marijuana in adults ages 21 and over. Recreational marijuana use by children and teenagers is not legal in anywhere in the United States. Today’s marijuana plants are grown differently than in the past and can contain two to three times more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient that makes people high. The ingredient of the marijuana plant thought to have most medical benefits, cannabidiol (CBD), has not increased and remains at about 1%.

Stats & Trends in Teen Drug Use with Interactive Chart
Monitoring the Future: Annual Survey of Teen Drug Use. Each year, NIDA-funded researchers at the University of Michigan survey students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades on their behaviors and attitudes about substance use. The survey results are released the same year the data are collected.

Know the Risks of Marijuana
Marijuana use comes with real risks that can impact a person’s health and life. Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance in the U.S. and its use is growing. Marijuana use among all adult age groups, both sexes, and pregnant women is going up. At the same time, the perception of how harmful marijuana use can be is declining. Increasingly, young people today do not consider marijuana use a risky behavior. But there are real risks for people who use marijuana, especially youth and young adults, and women who are pregnant or nursing. Today’s marijuana is stronger than ever before. People can and do become addicted to marijuana.

HB 2312 Marijuana; legalization of simple possession, etc.
Marijuana; legalization; retail sales; penalties. Eliminates criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana, modifies several other criminal penalties related to marijuana, and provides for an automatic expungement process for those convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes to have such crimes automatically expunged by July 1, 2026. The bill creates the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (the Authority) and establishes a regulatory structure for the cultivation, manufacture, wholesale, and retail sale of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products, to be administered by the Authority. The bill contains social equity provisions that, among other things, provide support and resources to persons and communities that have been historically and disproportionately affected by drug enforcement. The bill has staggered effective dates and allows retail marijuana sales to begin on January 1, 2024.