Youth pledge many reasons why they will say ‘NO’ to marijuana on April 20
The North Coastal Prevention Coalition (NCPC) annual 420 Remix – A Celebration of Sober and Drug-Free Life Choices event took place at Boomers in Vista on April 18 with hundreds of middle school students from throughout North County. The event focused on getting a head start on prevention for students and parents including pledging to make positive choices on April 20 – a day that is promoted as an unofficial marijuana-smoking holiday.
By 4:20 in the afternoon, a banner full of pledges lined the entrance of the event responding to three prompts with a variety of answers, including:
- What’s important
to me on April 20
- To be drug free and have fun
- My physical AND mental health
- It’s my parents anniversary
- I’ll celebrate on
April 20 by
- Staying drug free
- Hanging out with my friends and not using drugs
- Marijuana is
harmful to young people because
- It makes you lazy and hurts your brain
- It can ruin your lungs
- Children’s bodies have not fully developed yet so it causes more harm
Now more than ever, NCPC encourages parents to send clear messages to their children. According to research findings, children whose parents have a positive attitude towards marijuana use are five times more likely to use marijuana by 8th grade. One of the key reasons teens choose NOT to use drugs is because they know their parents don’t approve of it. In San Diego County, approximately 2 percent of 7th-graders report using marijuana in the past 30 days; this increases to 15 percent for 11th-graders, which is why it is crucial to instill positive life choices at an early age (CHKS, 2017).
Preventing youth marijuana use is critical because those who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults(NIH, 2018). Marijuana is the primary drug of choice for youth ages 12-17 in publicly funded drug treatment, and with higher THC levels in todays marijuana products, there may be a greater risk for addiction if people are regularly exposing themselves to high doses (NIH, 2017).
In addition to addiction risk, frequent marijuana use also increases risk for anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and schizophrenia (NIH, 2017).
For tips on talking with teens about marijuana, download the Marijuana Talk Kit here:
About the North Coastal Prevention Coalition…The North Coastal Prevention Coalition aims to reduce the harm of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs in the cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista through community action, education, support and collaboration. It is funded in part by the County of San Diego, HHSA, Behavioral Health Services, with a contract to Vista Community Clinic.