Drug addiction is a concern in the contemporary world. As many states align towards legalizing some drugs such as marijuana, there are more questions than answers regarding the outcome of the move. Research reveals that the level of childhood exposure to marijuana has increased drastically between 2003 and 2014. The National Poison Data System (NPDS) suggested that exposure level for children to marijuana increased by approximately two times from 2003 to 2014 (Walker, 2015). This paper will highlight the effects of marijuana among children and finally give a proposal for a long-lasting solution.
Marijuana affects child brain development. The brains of the child start functioning while they are growing (Lalayants & Prince, 2015). The brain of a child begins developing from the point where they cannot understand the abstract and logical reasoning to a point where they calculate their actions with prior knowledge of the consequences of their actions at puberty. Therefore, exposure to the marijuana either through inhaling or swallowing affects the regions of the brain which is composed of cannabinoid neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors. This adversely affects the rate of brain development among children which can result in lack of attention while at school or low performance in class.
The prevalence of drug abuse among addicts increases from early adolescence to late adolescence. This is the age where the children are under the care of their parents and family members. During this age, most of the children are school-going, and this provides an excellent platform for community-based prevention mechanisms. Therefore the best strategy to employ in the prevention is adopting the family as the primary stakeholder in the rehabilitation and prevention of marijuana addiction. The prevention mechanisms are usually adopted in school, community and family setting. Therefore, the most effective program is based on the adoption of the relevant psychological model that targets the etiology of drug and substance abuse. Most of the children engaging in drug and substance abuse in early ages are believed to be as a result of pro-drug influences from their social settings ranging from family members, societal believes and peers. Therefore the best program should target the protective and risk factors such as education, leisure, comfort and satisfaction of the child's emotional needs.
Programs employed by the schools are one of the best programs in prevention of children from exposure to marijuana. The schools develop educative programs that target to give the child marijuana resistance skills, social skills, and self-regulation. The child learns in the company of others who act as motivation, and therefore this happens to be one of the best strategies for marijuana effects prevention. Furthermore, the child learns to drop erroneous beliefs and culture regarding the use of marijuana. The leaning is interactive and is employed over years which helps in instilling innate discipline to the child. This prevents marijuana abuse to a greater extent. Moreover, family-based marijuana prevention programs for children and adolescents have also been categorized as the best prevention criteria. The program stresses the importance of parents imparting life skills to their children. Furthermore, the program employs strategies such as skills training, improved family members functioning, improved communication and family discipline concerning drug abuse. Family-based marijuana prevention mechanism that utilizes both family bonding and better parenting skills have proved the most effective (Jhanjee, 2014). Finally, another important proposal for prevention of marijuana abuse among children and adolescents is the community-based marijuana prevention program. This is an all-inclusive strategy in that it encompasses the family, the school, media, community agencies, and public policies. This is a participatory approach in which all aspects of the society partake in the prevention of marijuana abuse among children. This has, in turn, led to improved supervision which is an essential element in rehabilitation.
On the other hand, divine intervention has also been fronted as one of the programs in countering marijuana abuse. The proponents have suggested that religious intervention is bound to improve the morality of the child thereby imparting them with skills that will help them desist from marijuana abuse (Witkiewitz & Black, 2014). This has however lacked sufficient research back-up and therefore ceases to be evidence-based. Therefore, until research substantiate the validity of the approach, the program remains a mere postulation.
In conclusion, there are various evidence-based programs for marijuana use and abuse among children. Therefore, there is a need for a more responsive and flexible program that will address the changing dynamics of marijuana abuse. For instance, the changing nature of drug prescription to include over-the-counter drugs has shifted the focus of some programs. This has encouraged drug abuse among the children. Therefore, a more coordinated approach such as community-based program will prove suitable for the trend. This will entail policy regulation where the drugs will only be given under strict prescription. On the other hand, with the current move towards legalization of marijuana, there is a risk of increased children exposure to marijuana. This leaves more room for more research to be done to come up with other means of maintaining child exposure to marijuana relatively low.
Jhanjee, S. (2014). Evidence-based psychosocial interventions in substance use. Indian Journal Of Psychological Medicine, 36(2), 112. http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.130960
Lalayants, M., & Prince, J. (2015). Child Neglect and Onset of Substance Use Disorders among Child Welfare-Involved Adolescents. Child Abuse Review, 25(6), 469-478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/car.2372
Walker, R. (2015). Substance Use Disorders, Evidence-Based Practices and the Possible Nature of Deep Flaws. Substance Use & Misuse, 50(8-9), 956-963. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10826084.2015.1010905
Witkiewitz, K., & Black, D. (2014). Unresolved Issues in the Application of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Substance Use Disorders. Substance Use & Misuse, 49(5), 601-604. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10826084.2014.852797
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