How Terrifyingly Easy it is to Start Using Drugs

person offering a jointI’ve just read through a dozen interviews from Narconon graduates in which they describe how and why they started using drugs. These interviews make so very clear that it’s incredibly easy for a young person to decide to just go along with what everyone else is doing – drinking, smoking pot, even using much stronger and more deadly drugs.

If a child does not understand clearly and with conviction why using drugs is dangerous and has not made a firm decision to remain drug-free, then anything can happen.

How Kids Can Begin Using Drugs

Let me share a few of these quotes with you.

“In high school, I started smoking marijuana with my friends. They told me there was nothing wrong with it, that it was kind of normal and everybody was doing it. So I just kind of joined in and started smoking marijuana.”

“How I started using marijuana, I was in middle school, around 12 years old, didn’t really know who I was as a person. I looked around to see what I wanted to be like, what I wanted to strive to be. I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be a social person. And that’s one of the reasons I started using marijuana.”

“So I started using marijuana, I was a freshman in high school. I was out partying and drinking and somebody had weed there. So I smoked it. My decisions weren’t the best, I was a little drunk. And then a couple of days later my buddy was like, ‘Hey, you want to smoke again?’ I was like, ‘Sure, I guess.’ I’d done it before.”

But that’s not as far as it usually goes. What should really concern a parent is how easy it was to transition to harder, more addictive and deadlier drugs. Here’s how our graduates described this progression to using heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine.

“As far as the transition from smoking pot every day to using harder drugs, I had run into somebody who said, ‘Hey, I’ve got some opium,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Opium, that’s cool, it’s like pot times ten.’ And before I knew it, we were sitting in my car smoking heroin. And then he’s like, ‘So man, we just did heroin.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ You know what I mean, because I had no idea. But it felt incredible, and I was like, ‘Oh, cool.’”

“I started smoking pot to fit in with everybody. And it looked like everybody was having a good time. And they told me, ‘Nobody’s died from smoking pot.’ So I did it and it progressed into cocaine and heroin and my life was just downhill.”

“From then on, it just kind of snowballed. I became okay with using other things, this that and the other. It’s not like I set out to be a heroin addict, I don’t think anyone does but it ended up that way. Before I knew it I was too deep to pull myself out.”

“My thing with starting with methamphetamine – my best friend started. Her sister started using it, they started hanging out a lot and I felt like I was losing my best friend so my curiosity grew really strong. I was pretty much determined to use it at that point so I could see what they were doing that seemed like so much fun. Yeah, so it was pretty easy to use it after I had used all the other stuff.”

Talking About Substance Abuse in the Home

I know it’s not the easiest thing to talk to your kids about drugs. But these stories show what can happen if you don’t.

The first thing you need to do is to learn about the drugs that are out there right now, drugs that your kids might be offered. And take the time to explain the effects and dangers associated with each drug.

To help you, we have created quick guides to understanding prescription drug abuse…

… and marijuana.

You can find complete guides to different drugs and how to talk to your children about them below:




Stimulants like methamphetamine or Ritalin:

Synthetic drugs like Spice or “bath salts”:



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How Might Your Child Hide Their Drug Abuse?

teenMost parents want their children to stay away from drugs while they are growing up. But when kids do start to use one drug or another, it’s not like they walk up to their parents and announce the fact. Quite the opposite. In most cases, they know their parents will disapprove and so they are going to conceal their drug abuse.

As this change usually coincides with the age a child starts to spend more time away from home, it can be hard for a parent to spot the changes. Drug use also coincides with the challenges a young person encounters as he (or she) works out how to deal with social pressures, more demanding schoolwork and similar outside influences. It’s not an easy time. Continue reading

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Some Parents Enable Drug Abuse Instead of Oppose it

Parent drug abuseThat is a very sad statement. But more and more, I find evidence that it is true.

One might just hope that our high numbers of drug-abusing teens are just due to parents not knowing exactly how to approach the subject with their kids. Or maybe they will talk to their kids about a few drugs and omit others.

But all too often, parents are actively involved in their children’s drug abuse. Continue reading

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Does Race Gender or Ethnicity Determine Drug Use

homeless personTo a large degree, perceptions of drug use and addiction can be affected by racial stereotypes. These types of stereotypes have long been perpetuated, to the effect that people of certain races or ethnic backgrounds are more likely to use drugs than others. For example, a Texas legislator speaking in support of one of that state’s early marijuana laws has famously been quoted as saying that, “All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff [marijuana] is what makes them crazy.” How surprised would that lawmaker have been to find out that people of Hispanic background are actually among the least likely to use drugs? Racial stereotypes relating to drug use have their basis in various sources, whether personal observation, prejudice or to promote a certain agenda. However they arise, they are not always true, and can have harmful effects in terms of limiting the opportunities of those groups who are targeted. At least as bad as this is that such stereotypes also have a tendency to deflect attention away from the groups who actually are using more drugs and need help to avoid addiction and other serious health consequences.  Continue reading

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Twisting the Prescription Drug System for Profit

Prescription drugs and moneyWe all know the way the prescription painkiller distribution system is supposed to work. A person with real pain that reduces the quality of his (or her) life visits a properly licensed doctor. To help that patient with the pain until recovery is complete, the doctor prescribes the minimum therapeutic dose, that is then accurately dispensed by an honest pharmacy. Continue reading

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Philip Seymour Hoffman: A Life Taken Too Soon Because of Addiction

late actor phillip seymour hoffmanOn Saturday the 1st of February, America went to bed looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday the next day, but on the 2nd the nation awoke to the tragic news that one of its favorite actors had been found dead in his Greenwich Village apartment. The body of Philip Seymour Hoffman was discovered by a friend of his on the Sunday morning when Hoffman was expected to pick up his three children but never arrived. The actor was 46 at the time of his death, and was widely recognized as being among the finest actors of his generation. Several days after the news spread of Hoffman’s untimely demise, the officials still had not yet released a statement concerning the cause of death, but there can be little doubt as to the answer for this question. It is all but certain that what happened on Sunday is that Philip Seymour Hoffman joined a long list of other talented artists who have lost their lives to drug addiction. Hoffman was found with a syringe stuck into his arm, with several other needles around his apartment. Investigators at the scene discovered 5 empty bags of heroin, along with a staggering 65 full bags of the drug. Continue reading

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Exporting Pot from Colorado: An Online Analysis

exporting potWill Colorado some day end up like Northern California? Could the Centennial State’s economy come to be dominated by the cultivation and sale of cannabis? By some reports, the entire economy of Humboldt County on the coast of rural Northern California revolves around marijuana. Property owners planting cannabis on their land. People being employed on the grow operations, including seasonal laborers who stand by the roadside advertising their services as cannabis trimmers for the harvest. And then there are the activities that support the marijuana trade, from the businesses that sell equipment and good necessary to the operations to everything from grocery stores and landlords whose livelihood depends in large measure on the fact that so many people in that area are working in the illegal drug trade. On paper, Humboldt County’s economy is heavily dependent on other sectors of industry — for example, the county is the source of a major portion of all the timber exports from California — but this of course does not include the impact that growing and selling cannabis has on the local economy. Simply put, many of the jobs in Humboldt County are entirely dependent on the fact that the area is the source of a large amount of all the domestically grown marijuana in the United States. In fact, Humboldt County is part of a larger region known as the Emerald Triangle (similar to the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia which is a region famous for opium production), which also features major marijuana growing regions including Mendocino and Trinity Counties. Continue reading

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Heroin Use Doubles in Suburban America

phillip seymour hoffmanAmerica woke up on Super Bowl Sunday this year to the news that Academy Award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had been found dead of drug overdose in his apartment. Hoffman was discovered with a needle in his arm, in fact, removing any initial doubts that the death might have been caused by anything but drug use. Investigators at the scene also found heroin in Hoffman’s apartment. This fit in with the fact that the actor had spent 10 days in rehab last year for problems with heroin and prescription painkillers.

The news of Hoffman’s death follows in the wake of the major story from this past summer, when Glee star Cory Monteith was found dead of overdose on a combination of heroin and alcohol. These reports have pushed heroin into the spotlight, but the drug has already become widely familiar in communities across the United States, because actors and Hollywood stars aren’t the only people who are having problems with heroin. It is, in fact, making major surges in terms of use rates over the past few years, and the drug has spread to communities where previously it might have been little more than vague rumor. Continue reading

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Will Zohydro be the New Favorite of Opiate Addicts

heroin and prescription opiatesIn December 2012, a group of experts in pharmaceutical drugs was called together by the Food and Drug Administration to provide an opinion on whether or not it was a good idea to permit the manufacture of a new painkiller formulation. The manufacturer was Zogenix. They wanted to sell a new pain pill that contained only hydrocodone, a synthetic opiate.

This panel recommended not approving this new drug. Why? Because formulations containing hydrocodone are among the most popular drugs abused by the addicted. Continue reading

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New Story Published on Narconon Says Its Never Too Late

helpNarconon was recently the focus of a story in CityWatch, a Los Angeles area news publication which reports on local stories that are of interest to people in the City of Angels. “The Narconon Lesson: It’s Never too Late,” tells the story of Narconon’s development and its history over the more than 40 years since the organization was founded. It also discusses modern views on the Narconon program and the work that it is doing in the world, as well as addressing some of the most common misconceptions about Narconon. The author of the piece is Rosemary Jenkins, who is described by CityWatch as being a Democratic activist who serves as the chair of the Northeast Valley Green Coalition. In addition to her work as a reporter for CityWatch, she is also a published author with books ranging from poetry to composition and grammar. In the recent article, she does a good job of providing readers with an introduction to Narconon and a basic understanding of the program and what type of impact it is having on the world. Continue reading

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