The Office of National Drug Control Policy is supporting a national campaign to educate kids about the dangers of smoking marijuana. Carol Falkowski of the Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota is a spokesperson for the campaign. She says so many people think marijuana is a benign, harmless drug, but she says the reality is that the number of people entering treatment programs for marijuana addiction has gone from 92-thousand in 1992 to almost 284-thousand people. Falkowski says their biggest challenge is to fight the view that marijuana is harmless.She says there’s a public perception that “it’s marijuana, it’s no big deal,” but she says that’s not the case. Falkowski says the midwest is not immune to the trend. She says 13-thousand Iowa teenagers try marijuana for the first time every year. She says in Iowa in 1992 11-hundred people entered treatment for marijuana addiction and in 2002 that number grew to 64-hundred. Falkowski says they’re trying to get out the message to stop kids before they get hooked on pot. She says we’re very good about pointing out risks to kids like crossing the street without looking, but she says we’re so confused or ambivalent about what to say about drugs and alcohol, that we don’t say anything. Falkowski says you need to take the time to talk to kid about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. She says when kids don’t here anything, then they think their parents must not mind. She says we need to talk to kids at a very early age. Falkowski says no matter how good a parent you are, there are outside influences on your kids, and you need to counter those influences by talking to your kids about drugs and alcohol.
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