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Talking Teens Out of Pot Abuse

June 28, 2011 | Harry Kimball

Though marijuana is an illicit drug, we understand that there are worse things than occasional experimentation. But "experimentation" isn't the only thing that the staggering number of kids with access to pot are doing, and some young people can develop a very unhealthy habit—one that seriously interferes with their intellectual and social development. How do we get kids off what they weren't "supposed" to be able to get hooked on in the first place?

One promising answer comes out of a recent study that gave high school volunteers who smoked marijuana regularly just two doses of structured education or a therapy for addiction called motivational interviewing. This approach begins by "meeting the teens where they are," in the words of one therapist we know. After just an hour or two of talking over two weeks, the study shows, use was down 20% three months later, and 15% a year later.

"Lots of people who use it do so without problems," a study author tells Science Daily. "But there are others who use it regularly—almost daily—and want to stop but aren't sure how." Lucky for them there is a way out, and it starts with an adult taking interest—non-judgmentally.

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