Things Parents DON’T Want to Hear

I have been thinking about my posts, how bluntly open I am about my experiences/knowledge of drugs, and how quickly many adults can be immediately turned off knowing I smoked pot in high school. Well, parents, this is the rest of the story that you don’t understand.

It is no secret that 1960-1970 birth cohort has experienced their fair share of experimentation with drugs. Back then, no one knew the effects of these drugs. So many people were using drugs and smoking cigarettes that the thought of saying “no” hardly even came to mind. My parents were born in the early and late 60’s. To this day, I do not know the extent of their drug experimentations, and to be quite frank, I do not think I should ever know, being as I’m their daughter. I can assume that they joined in on illicit activities with friends, but it is something I will never know for a fact. We never talked about drug use in my home, never mentioned ‘cocaine’ or ‘crack’ or anything like that. The one time the word ‘pot’ was ever used in my home was when I was about 13-years-old and my brother 16-years-old.

My mom sat us down and said, “Are any kids in your grade smoking dope?” With a very, very confused face, I looked at her and said, “What does that mean?”

To me, ‘dope’ was a term used to describe a goofy, outlandish, strange person. (i.e. the “Grandpa is a dope!” notes I left scattered around my Grandparent’s home as a playful prank.) She then corrected herself with more ‘hip’ language and said, “Do kids at school ever smoke pot? Do you know how much a dime bag costs?”

Note to parents: Kids do not say ‘dime bag’ or ‘dope’ anymore. ‘Dope’ is now a term used to describe something awesome, cool, or ‘far out’ as some of you would call it. Also, a ‘dime bag’ is no longer a thing. I found out 2 weeks ago that dime bag means it costs $10, and not the amount of marijuana you receive is the size of a dime. I’m 21. 

At age 13, I did not know what a dime bag was, where to get marijuana, and no one I knew openly talked to me about smoking weed. My older brother was more shy in high school, and also looked at my mother like she was crazy and felt very uncomfortable during the entire conversation. It was very apparent that we had no knowledge of ‘dope.’ That was the end of drug conversations in my household. 


While writing these blog posts, my parents, as well as all of you strangers, found out for the first time that I had smoked pot in the past. I commented on the how uncomfortable it was telling my parents, and apologized in my post as well. In the same post, I mentioned seeing cocaine in college, and knowing several people who have done that and beyond.

Here’s the kicker, parents. Your kid has too.

You can be as naive as you would like and continue to tell yourself that whatever college your child attends “doesn’t have that problem,” your kid “would never associate with people who do stuff like that,” “he/she doesn’t go to parties where that stuff is present, they would leave.” Ok, let’s put it like this. Kids here at Iowa, snort cocaine in the library. Iowa State, same thing. “Well, he/she has never seen that before.” Ok, let’s move on to the party scene. You have to be 21 to be in a bar, which leave house parties, lots and lots of house parties. House parties do not have security roaming around, do not require an ID or really even an invitation, and do not have people regulating your drinks. House parties make a very great place for drugs. Surprise, surprise. I was at a house party in college when I first saw cocaine. I walked into the bathroom to find two girls with a $100 bill up their nose. I didn’t know them, they didn’t know me, and I have never seen them since. Welcome to college, parents. Your kid has seen drugs. 


 

My major is criminology, so I would say I’m pretty well-versed in the topic of drugs. However, many students are well-curious in the topic of drugs, due to lack of knowledge. The way kids describe drugs, it sounds like a great time. “Take these caps, your body feels so good, and you will have so much fun, just laugh all the time, and hug everybody!” Who wouldn’t want to do that, right? Oh, but you are going to be pounding water like a fish. Oh wait, and don’t drink too much water, a bunch of kids keep over-hydrating themselves causing their brain to swell, and now they’re dead. But you’ll feel so great!!!

Pause.

I had no clue what the difference between ‘molly’ and ‘ecstasy’ was prior to coming to college. You could show me two pills, one ibuprofen and one ecstasy, and to this day I won’t be able to tell you which one is which. (pictures of drugs are VERY outdated in my textbooks.) Freshman year, I didn’t know girls who were going to the bathroom together, were actually doing lines together. I would have no clue that my friend’s random roommate was stashing blow in her desk drawer. I didn’t know how much a gram cost, or that the group of kids behind me just did a drug deal under the table.

But parents, you do know these things. You know the differences between these drugs, things to look out for, behaviors that are correlated with different drugs. You know what deadly additives can be in cocaine. The bad side effects of a ‘bad trip.’ These are all things your kid doesn’t know and needs to know. How is it that you can sit your kid down, tell them how babies are made and not to have sex, at age 13 when she first gets her period, but you can’t sit your 15-year-old kid down and explain to him the dangerous opportunities every single one of us has experienced? Isn’t that less traumatic; warning your kid about something that they may never even come in contact with, opposed to handing over condoms and praying they don’t use them until after age 30?


 

I have a very close relationship with my little brother, and am very open with him about how persuasive someone can be when describing drugs, but how dangerous they really are. He knows he can ask me anything about drugs, dangers, etc, and I am more than willing to explain it to him. I will get down to the very last, nitty-gritty detail of what I know about drugs, in an effort to completely diminish his curiosity (and to traumatize him with the idea that simply looking at drugs causes immediate death). Tell your kids whatever it is you think will scare them away from using drugs, ever. I believed that a Christmas elf was writing me letters during his break from making toys until I was 11-years-old, because my parents told me they also had elves visit them when they were kids, so obviously our family was just extra special. Your kid is going to believe whatever it is you have to say, as long as you make it sound legitimate. When other kids say, “No man, that’s not true.” Your child is still going to have that little voice in the back of their head reminding them of their Mom’s friend that overdosed on MDMA her first time and died at age 15. Trust me, disappointing your parent is 100 times worse than being the lame kid at the party. The guilt your child will feel knowing how disappointed you would be if you knew they did Molly will eat away at them enough that they won’t do it again.

Drugs are far too available, unpredictable, and intriguing for you to still think your kid is immune. The least you could do is have a conversation with your child, even if you know for a fact they aren’t using drugs, maybe they know someone who is very curious about drugs and don’t know what to do. The best thing you can do for your child is to be open to their curiosity. Let them ask you questions, otherwise they are going to ask friends’ questions… Next thing you know, they have the pill in their hand.

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Weed is a gateway drug

K, No.

Weed is not a gateway drug.

The perception of weed is that you will then want a stronger, different high, but that really is not technically the case. What IS the gateway, is the PEOPLE you meet while smoking bud, buying it, etc. Just because you smoke marijuana, your brain isn’t going to magically crave meth.

Often times, people that are smoking weed typically aren’t growing their own little batch of pot in the basement, keeping it to themselves, and lighting up in their bedroom every once in awhile. They have to meet people who are selling pot, usually go over to the dealer’s house to pick up the pot, meet whoever is hanging out at the dealer’s house, maybe stay to hangout and smoke a bowl with them, then go home to light up before bed. Teens especially have a hard time finding a place where they can smoke it without a.) getting caught by Mom and Dad or b.) get pulled over after hot boxing. They don’t have a home of their own, and very few parents are okay with their child leaving the house reeking of marijuana. This calls for some brainstorming on the child’s part. Some parents are okay with their child smoking in the home (most commonly because they feel the child will do it no matter what- if the child is doing it at home, they aren’t driving, risking trouble with the law, etc.), and kids know which parents these are. The child whose parent doesn’t allow them to smoke at home, Stevie, will then go over to Billy’s house, where smoking pot is allowed, and have a two hour smoking session with Billy and his friends. Little Stevie is going over to Billy’s house every day after school to smoke a bowl with his new found friends. One day, after being the first to spark the bowl Stevie notices the weed tasted a little different, and his high is extremely intense for a good ten minutes. Everyone is watching Stevie, asking him what it feels like and joking with each other. What Stevie didn’t know, is that Billy’s friend had topped the bowl off with some salvia. Stevie had heard of salvia, but didn’t really know what it was. It was fun though, and he continues to smoke salvia every once in awhile after that. Eventually, Billy is caught and is no longer dealing. Luckily, Billy gives Stevie the number for his old friend Ricky who also deals. Stevie hits up Ricky, goes over to his house, but Ricky had just run out of pot. Ricky is high on oxy, and tells Stevie how great it feels, everyone has been talking about oxy- it’s the new thing to do around school, and Ricky has some extra that Billy can try instead of buying pot. Billy now has to make the choice, as a young teen in front of someone he just met, of whether or not to be ‘cool’ and buy the pills instead or just say no and tell Ricky to let him know when he restocks.

That is the gateway. The fact that people are going into sketchy situations in order to get the pot. I don’t want to get into politics, but I do wonder if legalizing marijuana would help to reduce the introduction to other, stronger drugs. If someone just has to walk into the store and buy pot, knowing what exactly they are buying, in a public place- would it reduce the chance of them being peer pressured into anything other than weed? Would is decrease the chance for them to try any drug other than pot? They wouldn’t have to go hide out at Billy’s with his sketchy friends. He could buy the pot, go home, and smoke alone because it is legalized. There wouldn’t be a need to sneak around with scurvy, untrustworthy people. OR would it reduce the number of kids smoking pot all together? Just like alcohol– going out and getting drunk just isn’t as fun once you finally hit 21. At the point, you no longer have the rush of doing something wrong and taking risks. At the same time, could it also lead kids into doing stronger drugs because it is legalized? If pot isn’t fun anymore because it’s legal, are they going to find another drug that isn’t legal and do that in order to get the same rush of breaking rules and taking risks?