The Increased Challenge of Preventing Teenage Substance Abuse

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Today’s weed is often laced with high-potency THC, a psychoactive component. In 1995, the average concentration of THC in cannabis seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration was about 4%. By 2017, it was 17%. In 2022, samples showed THC concentration as high as 95%.

THC has been shown in studies* (see below) to lead to psychosis (disconnection from reality leading to failure to adhere to society’s laws.) Symptoms of psychosis can include violent behavior, lifelong psychiatric disorders, an increased likelihood of depression, suicidal ideation, and loss of memory. Despite these dangers, the potency of marijuana is largely unregulated.

The reason why weed can have especially harmful effects during the teenage years is that at that stage of life the human brain is still developing and is therefore particularly less resistant to adverse substances. And so, the marijuana industry has become a money making machine which places profit over the welfare of America’s young people.

*Studies by Martin DiForti, a psychiatric clinician in London. Dr. Norman Miller, an addiction psychiatrist and Dr. Eric Voth, an IASIC physician.

An experience we use with teenagers regarding substance use follows: 


I recognize that you may or may not have used drugs. To the extent that you have or might someday do so, place a 1 next to the most likely reason, a 2 next to the second most likely reason, and a 3 next to the third most likely reason.  

___ Relieve Boredom 

___ Feel Good 

___ Forget Your Problems and Relax 

___ Have Fun 

___ Satisfy Your Curiosity 

___ Take Risks 

___ Ease Your Pain 

___ Feel Grown-Up 

___ Show Your Independence 

___ Belong to a Special Group 

___ Look Cool 



  • What are alternative ways of meeting the above needs?        

For those you who may be using drugs or alcohol, what changes in your lives have you experienced?  

  • Are you more concerned that there will be consequences for your breaking the law? 
  • Are there changes in your physical appearance?  
  • Have you stopped doing things which you used to enjoy? 
  • Do you feel you need drugs or alcohol to get through the day or week?  
  • Are you becoming more isolated from friends and family? 
  • Has your school attendance and/or grades declined?