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Marijuana Has Complex Effect On Teen's Developing Brains

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       DEAR ABBY - February 15, 2008 
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Dear Abby Archives
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MARIJUANA HAS COMPLEX EFFECT ON TEENS' DEVELOPING BRAINS

ABBY: You were right to tell "Just Saying No" (Jan. 16) 
that his pot-smoking classmates could be headed for 
addiction or other problems. I worry that marijuana poses 
more risks to teens than they -- or their parents -- 
recognize. More kids need professional help kicking 
marijuana than for all other drugs combined. It is not a 
"harmless" drug.

School failure, which you mentioned, could be only the 
first of many problems daily pot smokers may experience. 
Researchers have a long way to go in understanding the 
complexity of brain function, but we know that illicit 
drug use changes the developing brain. Many young people 
smoke pot before their brain development is settled, and 
their chronic use of the drug can affect certain centers 
in the brain that control emotion and reason.

Research shows that regular use of marijuana may also lead 
to mental health problems. Youth who use marijuana weekly 
have double the risk of depression later in life, and are 
three times more likely than non-users to have suicidal 
thoughts. 
-- MARC GALANTER, M.D., DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF ALCOHOLISM AND 
DRUG ABUSE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER

DR. GALANTER: Thank you for lending your expertise on this 
subject. I am sure many teens and their parents will find 
your letter enlightening. 

If they wish, younger readers can read and consider the 
latest scientific facts about marijuana and other drugs by 
logging onto http://www.abovetheinfluence.com for tips on 
talking to their adolescents and teens about drugs and how 
to get them help if that conversation begins "too late."

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ABBY: Every time my husband and I attend a viewing, no 
matter who the deceased person is, my husband insists that 
I get in line in front of him. This means I'm the one who
must approach the grieving family.

Some of the funerals we have been to are for people my 
husband knew well, but I knew only casually. It makes me 
uncomfortable to be the first to approach the family. He 
insists that it's "proper etiquette" to have me in front 
of him. I would have no problem being first if it was for 
someone I was close to. I feel he should do the same. Is 
there a right way or a wrong way to line up? 
-- ROCKY RIVER, OHIO, MOURNER

R.R.O.M.: There is no right or wrong way for mourners to 
line up for a viewing. Your husband may feel uncomfortable 
addressing the grieving family because he doesn't know what 
to say, and that's why he's defaulting to the old "ladies 
first" practice. (Please inform him that it should be 
ladies first only if the lady would LIKE to go first, not 
if she objects!)

However, because you appear to be stuck in the role of 
"point person" for your family, simply tell the family
members you are "sorry for their loss." This applies 
whether you know them well or not, and it's all they 
really need to hear.



ABBY: I am a senior in high school and in a long-distance 
relationship with a magician's apprentice who is a year 
younger than me. What should I expect from this relationship? 
-- LINDSAY IN SAN JOSE, CALIF.

LINDSAY: Because, as part of their business, magicians 
often spend a lot of time on the road, expect a vanishing
act. (Now you see him -- now you don't.)






ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 
____________________________________________________________

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END OF ABBY
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