Discussing pot with teens one-on-one may be more effective

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PHOENIX – “It was more experimenting and my friends we're doing it,” Steve Lucy said. “I wanted to be accepted.”

Lucy tried marijuana for the first time when he was just 14 years old. “Over time it progressively got worse to where I was smoking pot daily and drinking heavily,” Lucy said.

It didn't take long before Lucy started using harder drugs. By the time he got to college, he was addicted to several prescription medications. His ambition to go to school and play baseball fell to the wayside.

“The partying, the drinking, the pot use, and other illicit drugs use continued until eventually I got put on probation and dropped out of school,” Lucy said.

Lucy turned to Journey Healing Centers in Scottsdale for help. “Eighty-percent of the clients that I see began with marijuana,” Jaime Vinck said. “They will tell you that and own it that it was the gateway drug.”

Vinck is the corporate clinical director at Journey Healing Centers. She said young people believe smoking marijuana isn't risky.

“The younger the one begins using marijuana, the more the long-term emotional and physically ramifications in adult life,” Vinck said.

According to a new study in an issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, talking to teens one on one about how marijuana use can impact their lives is more effective in curbing their use versus showing them the health effects of the drug.

Researchers found 20 percent of the teens that got "the one-on-one talk" cut down their use within three months.


“It’s very non-confrontational, non-threatening and it’s done in a more supportive, motivational role then you should, don't do, you have to,” Vinck said.

Vinck said while the one-on-one setting opens the door for teens to speak more freely about marijuana, she believes the educational aspect is still important.

“It’s a two-part situation,” Vinck said. “Here's the short and long-term ramifications of marijuana and now let's apply it to your world.”

This is something Lucy wished he had known before lighting up. The 25-year-old has been clean for more than a year.


“It’s really not worth trying it just because you want to be accepted,” Lucy said.

Journey Healing Centers will be holding free seminars to talk about marijuana for teens and their parents in September.

September 13th – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Marijuana Addiction Motivational Awareness Seminar tailored towards teens and parents

September 20th –6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Marijuana: How Motivation Can Assist Teens in Cutting Back or Stopping.

These marijuana and motivational seminars will be held at Journey Healing Centers’ Scottsdale, Arizona office. To confirm the seminar dates, please visit http://journeyrecoverycenters.com.

For questions regarding these events or anything to do with addiction, there is also a free 24-hour Hotline with Addiction Specialists that anyone can call 1-866-774-5119.