Adolescent brains are just learning how to think logically, but they strive to make decisions for themselves. They are less likely than adults to be fully wired to notice errors in decision-making. Some skills have to be taught. A crucial skill for adolescents and adults is evaluating the source of their information.
Youth often fail to question the accuracy of information received from friends, relatives or acquaintances. They are likely to be adept at finding information through Google searches, Wikipedia, Erowid (an online library containing information about psychoactive drugs, plants, and chemicals) and other sources, but fail to evaluate the reliability of the source.
However, when watching educational materials regarding marijuana featuring research scientists or doctors, they sometimes state that they "don't trust" the information presented. Perhaps it's their version of "Don't trust anyone over 30"! Discussing their mistrust can be crucial to having a true dialog with them.
Let's consider the following paragraph from the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) website:
Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person's existing problems worse.
The above "Research clearly demonstrates" should prompt both adults and adolescents to ask what research? when? where? what problems? worse in what way?
Over the next few weeks as we look at research regarding marijuana, keep in mind the importance of evaluating source materials, presenting accurate information, considering all sides, and providing adolescents with the information and tools that they need to make informed decisions. This assists us is working with adolescent development. not against it.
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Director of Ulster Prevention Council