Teen Marijuana Use On The Rise

Taylor Bunch
Contributing Writer
With twenty-nine states having legalized either the medical or recreational use of marijuana, it’s no surprise that it is becoming more accepted nationwide. But just as with drinking alcohol, there is no way to guarantee that minors will not smoke weed, whether it is legal in their state or not. 
Marijuana is not legal in any form in the state of Missouri- but that doesn’t mean that kids aren’t using it in secret. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, 39% of teens, grades nine through twelve,  admitted to smoking weed at least once in their life. The Jackson County Combat website reported that 21% of high school seniors had admitted to smoking in the last thirty days.
Although it would be easiest to believe that our own community’s teens don’t use drugs, that is not the case. A few Warsaw High School students were asked off the record about the drug use at the high school, and their answers proved that they are a part of the statistics as well. “Lots of kids smoke weed, it doesn’t even surprise me anymore when I hear about it,’’ a junior female said. With a pro-legalization climate, teens feel like there is no risk to smoking marijuana- if everyone is doing it, why is it so bad? “I wasn’t afraid to smoke weed for the first time because I knew so many people that did it,” said a sophomore female. 
WHS took drug prevention to the next level this year after multiple students were caught at school with marijuana and paraphernalia last year. Now, to even park your vehicle on school property, you must be admitted to the random drug testing pool. “You would be surprised how many kids were scared by the new rule- at least I was,” said a male senior. 
Looking for reasons as to why teens might smoke marijuana is like looking for a needle in a haystack,  there are many reasons they could be making these decisions. A study by ParentFurther showed that only ten percent of teens said they had not been influenced by peer pressure. Other studies showed teens may experiment with drugs because of boredom, curiosity, or to make them feel better. A WHS student said they first smoked weed because “there was nothing better to do.” 
There will always be a trend teens want to try and something new they want to experiment with. But by knowing the signs of drug use you can stop them and prevent them from trying other drugs as well. An article from Livestrong.com reported that as well as physical signs such as red eyes and imbalance, there are signs in the grades and friend groups as well.