If you or someone you know is having problems with drugs, help is available at:

Alcohol and Drug 24-Hour Helpline

Crisis Clinic Resource Hotline

True North-Student Assistance Services

Providence St. Peter Chemical Dependency Center

If you want to learn more about drug abuse or find information on particular drugs, the following links can be useful:

Drug dependence/abuse information by WebMD

Drug information and parenting advice

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s family guide to underage drinking

The Partnership at has information for parents in English and in Spanish, along with a drug guide


Ohio State University Medical Center describes substance abuse and chemical dependence in an easy-to-read manner and answers frequent questions.

Slang terms: weed, pot, grass, reefer, ganja, Mary Jane, blunt, joint, roach, nail

Marijuana is a mind-altering drug made form the dried leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the Cannabis plant. It is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. Marijuana may be ingested, although it is most commonly smoked, usually in a hand-rolled cigarette known as a joint or doobie. Other methods of smoking marijuana include using a pipe or a bong, a type of water pipe. Marijuana has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed. The most common short-term effects include increased heart rate, reddened eyes, lowered blood pressure, impaired coordination, impaired concentration, dry mouth, hot or cold flashes, and short-term memory problems.


MarijuanaThe most immediate attraction of marijuana is the intoxication, or high, that the drug can produce. Friends, society, home life and confusing information about the drug can influence a person to use marijuana. Young people may be drawn to marijuana because they want to fit in socially. Most young people are not using marijuana. However, youth popular culture, fed by portrayals in movies, music and television, may give youth the false impression that marijuana use is commonplace and acceptable, that "everyone is doing it." They may hear it is "natural" or safer than other illegal substances.

What are the facts?

Marijuana affects your brain. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, affects the nerve cells in the part of the brain where memories are formed. It impairs learning and decreases motivation and concentration.

Marijuana is addictive. Marijuana releases dopamine in the mesolimbic area of the brain, beginning the same process that reinforces dependence to other addictive drugs.

Marijuana affects your self-control. Marijuana can seriously affect your sense of self-control and your coordination, affecting things like driving. Using marijuana or other drugs increases your risk of injury from car crashes, falls, burns, drowning and other accidents.

Marijuana affects your judgment. Marijuana use is associated with risky behavior – sexual activity, driving while high, riding with someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Marijuana affects your lungs. There are more than 400 known chemicals in marijuana. A single joint contains four times as much cancer-causing tar as a filtered cigarette.

Marijuana affects other aspects of your health. Marijuana can limit your body’s ability to fight off infection. Long-term marijuana use can even increase the risk of developing certain mental illnesses.

Marijuana is not always what it seems. Marijuana today is more potent and its effects alone can be more intense. Marijuana can be laced with other dangerous drugs without your knowledge. "Blunts," hollowed–out cigars filled with marijuana, sometimes have substances added such as crack cocaine, PCP (phencyclidine), opium or embalming fluid, which create an intense (and dangerous) experience.

Talking to your child

What to say if your child says:

"Marijuana is harmless."
Smoking marijuana is every bit as dangerous as smoking tobacco cigarettes.

"It’s not addictive."
More kids enter drug treatment for marijuana than for all other illicit drugs combined.

"It can’t cause any real problems in the long term."
If you’re smoking marijuana, you could do things that jeopardize your future, like having sex or getting in trouble with the law.

"Marijuana makes you mellow."
Not always. Marijuana use is associated with violent behavior. Kids who use marijuana weekly are four times more likely to engage in violent behavior than those who don’t.

"Marijuana’s not as popular as new drugs like Ecstasy."
More kids use marijuana than cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy (MDMA) and all other illicit drugs combined. Sixty percent of kids who use illicit drugs use marijuana only.

"If I smoke marijuana, I’m not hurting anyone else."
Marijuana trafficking is a big, often violent business, at home and abroad. And if you get caught, it will really hurt your parents.

PDF brochures:

"Wake up to the Myths of Marijuana"

"Marijuana Myths and Facts: The Truth behind 10 Popular Misconceptions"

"School's Out..."

"An Open Letter to Parents"

Online resources:

Information on marijuana from Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Information on marijuana from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Click on the drugs listed below to find out more about them:

DXM (cough syrup)
LSD (acid)
Methamphetamine (meth)
OxyContin (oxycodone)
PCP (phencyclidine)
Percocet (oxycodone)
Rohypnol (roofies)
Vicodin (hydrocodone)