Stories by Teens
There are more teenagers in Marijuana Anonymous today than at any time in the past. We come for many different reasons— parents tell us to come, the schools or the courts send us, some of us come on our own. A few of us have smoked pot for years, others only a few months. Many of us question whether we really are marijuana addicts. Some of us think we have not used long enough to be addicted to marijuana.
The symptoms of marijuana addiction are varied, but some are very obvious: ditching school, getting high before, during, and after school, dropping out of school, lying to our parents, etc. It does not take years to develop into a marijuana addict. It can happen very quickly. Peer pressure often plays a part in the process; some of us smoke pot to feel more comfortable in the presence of a certain person or crowd. Only you know if you are a marijuana addict. MA is here for any person, regardless of age.
This pamphlet contains stories written by teens.
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.
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.
When I was using, I had a lot of problems. Me and my dad got into a fight. We were hitting each other. The cops came. I tried to jump over the wall in my backyard. The cops grabbed me, and handcuffed me. My mom and dad had to decide whether to send me to juvenile hall. My mom said yes but my dad said no. I was released but that didn’t stop me from using drugs.
When I was in the 7th grade, I got arrested for possession and use of marijuana. I was kicked out of school for a year. After that year, I didn’t go back. I was kicked out by my parents. After 4 years of life on the streets, I was hanging out with my homies, getting drunk and doing dope every day.
Now I have been drug-free for almost a year. I finally came back to school. I am succeeding in school and life. I realize now that doing dope is not cool. I want to finish high school and go to college. I want to be an attorney. I hope my story touches somebody’s heart, and I hope that whoever reads it will realize that doing drugs is not the way to go.
I am a 16 year old recovering marijuana addict. Like most teens, I went to MA for my parents mainly. I knew I had a problem; however, I didn’t really want to stop. Honestly, I didn’t want to have real feelings again.
My parents put me in an outpatient program. The program made me go to one meeting a week. I chose MA because marijuana was my drug of choice. In MA, I learned about calling people for help.
At 30 days, when I took my chip, I was ready to be sober for myself. I knew if I didn’t do it for myself it wouldn’t mean anything and I could go out and use again. At 60 days, I decided to learn the Serenity Prayer and get a sponsor. I thought I didn’t need a sponsor, didn’t need to work the Steps. Staying clean would be enough. Now that I have a sponsor, I see how important she is. When I have a good day, she is happy for me. When I have a bad day, she tells me it is OK and makes me feel better. After 103 days clean and sober, I graduated the outpatient program.
I still have bad days. The people in MA comfort me. Bad days make me realize I need to thank God for the good days and not take them for granted.
What kind of person becomes an addict? Someone popular, with a lot of friends; or someone who is different from the rest, estranged from the popular crowd, with only a few friends, or none at all? The point I am trying to make is anyone can become an addict.
The only way that I figured this out was by becoming an addict myself. I used to be a guy who was always in the popular crowd. Right before high school began, I started being shunned by most of my friends. I had never lived with the fear that I had no friends, so I did almost anything to keep the two good friends I still had. One of the things I did was try pot for the first time. This was a big change from the way I lived when I was younger. I was an athlete, and the last thing I thought I would get into was drugs. Drugs prevented me from being the best athlete I could be.
I entered high school, where smoking pot was “cool.” I continued to smoke pot because that was what my new “cool” friends were into. The next three years were filled with many highs and lows, and everything seemed so superficial, including my friendships. This made me sad and depressed. I believe this was my “rock bottom.”
I realized I could not live this way. There was one problem: I could not stop the routine of using drugs. It took being arrested twice, losing my license for two years, and my lawyer suggesting Twelve Step meetings before I walked into Marijuana Anonymous.
Since then, my attitude and actions have changed and so has my direction in life. I do see a future in water polo. Luckily, I haven’t killed my chance in athletics. Hopefully, I haven’t killed all those relationships I damaged while I was using drugs. Either way, I know that my first priority is staying sober and keeping a clean head. Keep Coming Back. It works if you work it.
My love of pot started the first time I got stoned. I was 14. The first time I smoked pot I didn’t see the point, because I didn’t feel high. I’d been drinking for a year already and I liked alcohol. The first time I did feel stoned from weed, I dropped the bottle and picked up the pipe. That was the beginning of 2 years of hell. Since I thought my parents were idiots, I could “act sober” around them.
For the first few months, I didn’t think pot controlled my life because I didn’t smoke like everyone else. I just smoked on occasion. Once I got to high school, I saw getting high as a great opportunity to make friends. I eventually got into the stoner circle, but I never felt a part of that crowd, because I didn’t smoke like them.
My parents knew what was up. My 1.6 grade point average was a big clue that I had something more important to do than homework. When I got caught dealing, my parents decided to raid my room. They found everything but the pot I had on me. I didn’t care. I smoked out the day after I got caught. So, I was busted. Big deal. I promised to go to MA, but I really didn’t intend to stay sober. I didn’t want to be in a room full of addicts, because I thought I could stop anytime I wanted to. I just didn’t want to.
Soon after, I was caught shoplifting. My mom and dad came and picked me up. Another slap on the wrist. I stopped getting high for about 2 months, but when I started again, it was like I never stopped. My home life was awful. I was in a constant battle with my parents and my little brother was being hurt as a result of my selfishness. I thought I was the only person in the whole world.
I was using every day when everything finally hit the fan. My dad broke my guitars, so I ran away. I was caught one week later in Santa Barbara. I vowed never to use again. I told my parents that I had a problem, and I needed help. I came into MA a week later. Since then, I haven’t smoked pot once. I have noticed a vast improvement in my life, and it can only get better. So, if you are new, the best advice I can give you is read the literature, get a sponsor, and take a commitment. But more importantly, KEEP COMING BACK, because your life is still worth living.
We have found hope for the future in Marijuana Anonymous. Some of us have better relationships with our families. We have done better at school. We have found true friends, not just those who only hang out when there is weed. We have found the support of other marijuana addicts in MA.
Recovery is possible for people of all ages in Marijuana Anonymous. We cannot guarantee that we will never encounter situations where people are using. But, being clean and sober and working the Twelve Steps can help strengthen us against people and situations which may try to draw us back. Our stories portray the pain of addiction as well as the hope that comes from a drug-free life.Stories by Teens There are more teenagers in Marijuana Anonymous today than at any time in the past. We come for many different reasons— parents tell us to come, the schools or the courts send
4 Things to Do If Your Kid Is Caught With Drugs at School
Andrea Rice is an award-winning journalist and a freelance writer, editor, and fact checker specializing in health and wellness.
Discovering that your tween or teen was caught with drugs at school can leave you feeling like you are in the midst of a huge catastrophe. But it may help you to know that your child is not alone.
In fact, the most recent statistics indicate that as many as 20% of high school teens have sold, been offered, or received drugs on school property. Still, this doesn’t negate the need to address the issue. Here’s everything you need to know about getting your teen the help they need.
Overview of Teen Drug Use
While the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics reported that teen drug use is holding steady, the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey shows the lowest levels in the past 20 years. What’s more, 2019 MTF data shows that the usage of illicit drugs over the past year among teens is about about 38% among high school seniors.
Meanwhile, daily marijuana usage was up in 2019 compared to 2018, due to the growing popularity of vaping and the drug’s legalization in many states. It was the second largest jump in the MTF’s 45 years of survey history (the largest was nicotine vaping in 2017 to 2018).
Finding Out What Happened
Getting caught with drugs at school, including marijuana and even alcohol, can bring a host of complicated issues for parents to navigate. There are the rules of the local school, as well as any juvenile or criminal laws that need to be considered. Keep in mind, laws vary by state and local jurisdiction when it comes to possession of an illegal substance on school grounds.
There’s also health and behavioral effects of substance use that need to be considered as well. Consequently, when your child is found with drugs on them at school, it’s important to find out what happened. For instance, was your child caught selling drugs, doing drugs, or were the drugs simply in their possession or in their locker?
Knowing the details will help you determine what type of help and intervention your teen needs. But you need to tread lightly; after all this is a criminal offense.
With this in mind, start by talking to the teacher or administrator about what they witnessed. Focus on listening to what they have to say. Ask questions just to clarify things that don’t make sense, but don’t get defensive, claim your child is innocent, or share personal information.
You also need to remember that if your teen had drugs on them at school this is against the law. So you don’t want to provide information to school administrators that may be used against your teen at a later date.
How to Talk to Your Teen
Once you have talked to the teacher or administrator at your child’s school, it’s time to have a conversation with your teen to get their version of things. Before you start the conversation though, make sure you have taken some time to calm down and gather your thoughts.
Your goal is to find out what motivated your teen to have drugs at school—and why they are using or selling to begin with. Knowing this information will guide you in how to find your teen the help that they need.
Make sure you listen and ask questions. You want to discover what is at the root of the issue.
Try to dig deeper, rather than only asking, “What were you thinking?” Remember, it’s about more than just using drugs. Usually, there is a deeper reason why your teen is using drugs. Here are some possible reasons why your teen may be experimenting.
- Desire to fit in: Kids who are lonely or don’t have a solid friend group are really vulnerable to cliques that use drugs. All they have to do to be accepted is use drugs. To a teen, sometimes using drugs seems like a small price to pay to feel like they belong.
- Got in over their head: Once accepted into a drug clique, it’s sometimes hard for kids to get out. The others may threaten them or their family and they feel trapped. So getting caught at school may have been a cry for help.
- Want to dull their feelings and emotions: Kids who are dealing with a mental health issue like anxiety or depression may turn to drugs as a way to self-medicate. In fact, this is one of the most common reasons that kids use drugs. Be on the lookout for these issues when talking with your child.
- Struggle with self-esteem: Some kids are so insecure that they look to drugs and alcohol as a way to make them feel more confident and powerful. Additionally, using drugs is an easy way to get attention—even if it’s negative attention.
- Desire to alleviate boredom: There are times when kids will turn to drugs because they are bored and looking for excitement. Part of the allure of using drugs is the excitement that comes from buying them, hiding them, and sneaking around.
- Have an addiction: For some kids, a simple experimentation with a controlled substance can quickly morph into an addiction, and now they can’t quit because their body demands more of the drug. If you suspect your child has an addiction, it’s important to get them in a treatment program as soon as possible.
Finally, as you talk with your teen, keep in mind that how you react to the news that they had drugs on them at school is important to their recovery. Consequently, you need to make sure you are calm yet firm. They need to understand the gravity of their choices, but they also need to know that you love them in spite of their mistakes.
Also, make sure that you don’t enable your child, or worse, blame yourself for their choices. They may be a teen, but they still made the choice to use drugs and bring them to school. Instead, keep your focus on getting them the help they need.
Legal Steps to Take
Each state and local school district will have its own laws and rules that will impact the situation. While there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution to this dilemma, there are some things to immediately consider that can help you handle the legal consequences that result when your child is caught with drugs.
Contact a Lawyer Right Away
If your teen was caught bringing drugs to school, they almost certainly will be suspected of violating local criminal or juvenile delinquency laws. Each state has its own set of criminal codes that differ from one another. Laws regarding questioning, searches, and property seizures all vary.
Contacting an attorney early on can help protect your child’s rights. Often, the earlier an attorney is contacted, the more they can advise you and your child of your options.
The idea behind getting an attorney isn’t to prevent your child from experiencing consequences, but to help ensure the best possible outcome given the circumstances.
Unfortunately, criminal and juvenile delinquency cases can have long-lasting effects on a young person’s life. In addition to the possibility of having a court record that could follow them into adulthood, this misstep could potentially impact their college admissions and career choices.
Utilize First-Time Offender Options
Fortunately, most states have special juvenile or first-time offender options that can keep a first drug offense from permanently impacting your teen’s future. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the local process.
Find an attorney specializing in youth drug-related crimes who is familiar with how local cases are handled. Some areas have local youth courts or are able to dismiss charges if a teen attends treatment or counseling. Your attorney should be able to offer advice beginning in the investigation period, and then provide legal counsel throughout the case if charges are filed against your teen.
Keep in mind, you will need to consider the rules of the school, as well. As a result, if you want the attorney to advise you on issues with the school, be sure to make that clear upfront.
Get Disciplinary Measures in Writing
Most schools will place a student who is caught with drugs or alcohol on some sort of suspension where the student at least temporarily loses their rights to sit in a classroom. These disciplinary actions are usually governed by a series of policies written out in the school’s student handbook.
Be sure to get, and keep, a written copy of any disciplinary measure that is taken by the school toward your child. This document should tell you exactly what your child is being disciplined for, and outline the exact disciplinary measure being taken by the school. The document also should detail how long the suspension should last, and what your child needs to do to return to school.
You also should receive information on how to appeal the suspension. And, if your child has an IEP (individualized education plan), they may have some extra protections. The needs of the student as listed in the IEP will need to be considered in the disciplinary process.
This doesn’t mean that a child with an IEP cannot be suspended, but rather that the circumstances of the suspension need to be considered along with the disability.
In some cases, your child may be expelled rather than suspended. Again, you should get and keep any records or documents. If your child is expelled, find out if the expulsion is for the remainder of the school year or longer.
Ask if there are conditions that will allow your child to return to school. You also should research what other options your child will have available to them, whether that involves transferring to another school or attending a program for students who have been expelled.
Make a Plan to Return to School
The suspension paperwork may list steps your child needs to follow before being allowed back into school. But keep in mind that it may not include everything your child will need to do to return to regular schoolwork and be successful.
In addition to the actions listed in the discipline document, your teen may miss schoolwork during the time of any suspension. Ask what work your child will need to complete, and how they will be able to complete it while suspended.
Eligibility for extracurricular activities also may be affected. Ask whether your child will be excluded from any school activities, and if there are steps they can take to become involved again.
Getting Your Child Help
Regardless of whether your teen has an addiction, is using drugs to numb their pain, or is trying to fit in with the wrong people, they need help for their substance abuse problems. For many teens this help begins with counseling and a drug treatment program—especially if it’s part of their sentence.
If you’re not sure where to turn for help or referrals, start with your child’s pediatrician. They can recommend counselors as well as treatment programs. Likewise, they can conduct screenings that will help identify any underlining issues like a mental health issue or a behavioral issue. If you have consulted with an attorney, they also can provide advice on getting an evaluation as well as discuss how that will impact your child’s case.
If your teen is struggling with drug or alcohol use, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
A Word From Verywell
While the repercussions of being caught with drugs or alcohol at school can be serious, these same incidents often lead to the discovery of an issue that needs attention, whether behavioral, emotional, or related to chemical dependency. And, armed with that information, you can get your teen the help that they need.
Additionally, the fallout from your teen being caught with drugs in school can be very stressful. But rest assured that in time and with adequate support and intervention, things should return to normal. Resist the urge to define your teen by this mistake.Find out what you need to know to help get life back on track if your child gets caught at school with alcohol, weed, or another drug. ]]>