I am 16 years old. When I was 11, I started smoking cigarettes because of a friend. At age 12, I started getting into alcohol and hanging out with gang members. At 13, I started smoking marijuana. At 14, I started doing hard drugs. I pulled a knife and swung at my dad. Luckily, I missed. I love my dad because he is the person who brought me into this world. I didn't realize that if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here.

The first time I smoked weed was during the summer before 8th grade. I was really curious to see what it was all about. I had a few hits, but didn't really get stoned. Later, I smoked some more. I got so high I didn't even know what was going on. The next chance I got to get high, I jumped on it. The more I did it, the more I liked it. I loved the way pot played with my head. Finally, I got caught. I was grounded for a while, but I went right back to it. That happened over and over until my parents decided to put me in a chemical dependency program. I managed to still smoke pot on the day furthest from my drug tests. I tried all those purification concoctions, but my dad eventually found out. I was still determined not to let anybody rob me of my "God-given rights," so I continued to smoke bud and got "dirty" drug tests. My grades weren't really suffering so I saw no reason to stop. I kept getting into more trouble. Finally, disaster struck. I was caught at school. My hearing to determine whether I am expelled or not happens very soon. My eyes have been opened. Getting caught once can ruin your life. I'm taking my 30 day chip today and I hope to get many more chips. By staying sober, I am getting all my privileges back. As for school, I hope to be allowed back in. My only job is to stay out of trouble.


In an attempt to stop drug dealers who have learned to get around the law, some legislators want to increase penalties for simple marijuana possession. If the bill passes, even the occasional user might face long prison sentences and big fines.


What does marijuana do to the brain? A: Some studies show that when people have smoked large amounts of marijuana for years, the drug takes its toll on mental functions.(4) Heavy or daily use of marijuana affects the parts of the brain that control memory, attention, and learning. A working short-term memory is needed to learn and perform tasks that call for more than one or two steps. Smoking marijuana causes some changes in the brain that are like those caused by cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Some researchers believe that these changes may put a person more at risk of becoming addicted to other drugs, such as cocaine or heroin.(12) Scientists are still learning about the many ways that marijuana could affect the brain.

If you are an addict, you must first admit that you have a problem with marijuana before any progress can be made toward recovery.

The following agencies can assist teens using marijuana:

Marijuana Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous

We would like to thank the following websites for their pictorials:

http://thumb-2.image.altavista.com/image/46336673" http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/teenquote3.gif http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/teencover1.gif http://marijuana.newscientist.com/nsplus/insight/drugs/marijuana/images/head.gif http://marijuana.newscientist.com/nsplus/insight/drugs/marijuana/images/marijuana_logo.jpg

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