Home truths on marijuana – a caregiver’s perspective

Stuff co.nz 15 March 2019
Family First Comment: Great commentary from Family First’s Mel Taylor 🙂
“The many youths we have journeyed alongside who have made a positive life for themselves will tell you that these drug advocates are wrong, and removed from reality. I find it both sad and ironic that these young people cannot understand why any government that cares about the people would even think to do something like legalising marijuana. Many of these youth would not have struggled with drug addictions at such a young age had their parents not taken drugs. Many would not have been in trouble with the law if drugs had not been part of their upbringing. Children reflect their environment. Their parents are the first role models and their first influencers, and as a result can make or break a child’s future.”
#SayNopeToDope

OPINION: At the 2020  general election, we are set to have a binding referendum on whether we should legalise marijuana.

The upcoming debate  on this topic is set to be fierce, as this is a subject many people are passionate about.

Legalising marijuana is both stupid and dangerous. What really frightens me is just how many people may vote for it in an uninformed way. Far too few people will actually research all the facts regarding marijuana and make an educated decision

I am a Specialist Caregiver who has had more than 400 teenage boys live with us in our family home over the past 18 years. I work on the frontline with Youth Justice youth, behavioural youth, Care and Protection youth and high at-risk youth.

I have seen and heard it all. I have seen first-hand the massive negative effects marijuana has had on not only youth, but on their families and communities.

The most gut-wrenching is seeing so many youths, who had so much potential, come to us with drug-induced psychosis. For some of them it took years for them to reach that point. For others, only a very small amount of time.

In most cases, the drug addictions these youth have can be attributed to their past environment and upbringing. Drugs for them are the norm.

So many people will refer to the fact that there are next to no marijuana-related deaths. Actually, the alternative reality is worse. Rather than death, we have both youth and adults with brain damage that will affect them for the rest of their life. They need constant mental health assistance, require lifelong financial support from the government, and will never have the opportunity to live a normal life.

Marijuana is killing New Zealanders, maybe not physically, but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Many drug advocates will say that there will be age restrictions on the legalisation of marijuana, that safeguards will be put in place, and that parents will not be giving it to their children.

 The many youths we have journeyed alongside who have made a positive life for themselves will tell you that these drug advocates are wrong, and removed from reality.

I find it both sad and ironic that these young people cannot understand why any government that cares about the people would even think to do something like legalising marijuana.

Many of these youth would not have struggled with drug addictions at such a young age  had their parents not taken drugs. Many would not have been in trouble with the law if drugs had not been part of their upbringing.

Children reflect their environment. Their parents are the first role models and their first influencers, and as a result can make or break a child’s future.

I personally believe marijuana would not be legalised if the decision was to be made by those working on the frontline, such as doctors, nurses, mental health workers, social workers, police, caregivers, teachers, counsellors and many others.

Why? Because these people deal first-hand with the damages and long-term side effects caused from marijuana, and because they have taken the time to research the facts. They have seen the consequences.

I implore New Zealanders to do their research. Talk with people who work on the frontline, and make sure that they have all the unbiased facts before the vote. Legalising marijuana would be the start of a very scary and slippery slope.

Finally, I would like to challenge any politician who supports the legalisation of marijuana to come to our home and spend time with our youth in care. You are welcome to come and hear their stories about how marijuana has affected both them and their families, and learn some home truths from their life experiences.

* Mel Taylor is a specialist caregiver, and spokeswoman on youth issues for Family First NZ.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/110545233/home-truths-on-marijuana–a-caregivers-perspective

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