Panel, parents discuss drug trends among teens

A dramatic increase in use of marijuana among teens - including teens in Northwest Ottawa County - was one of the emerging trends in drug abuse addressed during a free, public panel discussion presented Thursday evening at the Grand Haven 9 Theater.
Janet Tyson
Feb 24, 2012

An audience of about 60 parents and educators from the Tri-Cities, Muskegon and Holland listened intently and asked questions during the program, which was organized by the Ottawa Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.

Panelists were Cynthia Spielmaker, treatment services manager for the 20th Circuit Court/Juvenile Services; Roger Skorupski, parent of a Grand Haven High School sophomore; Molly Peek, a high school senior from Grand Haven and a recovering addict; Julie Wentela, Peek’s mother and an adult graduate of the Juvenile Drug Treatment Program; Karen Miedema, training senior attorney for the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office; Sgt. Glenn Bo of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety; Detective Corey Allard of the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department; and Deputy Sara Fillman of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department and school resources officer for Spring Lake High School.

Stephanie VanDerKooi, health educator for the Ottawa County Health Department, moderated the panel and presented a brief slide lecture.

Since passage of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, teen use of the drug has increased significantly, presenters said. At the same time, many young people seem to think that marijuana is no longer dangerous.

“The big problem is, it’s more potent than ever — but kids are looking at it like it’s no big deal,” Miedema said. “And it’s getting expensive — but, somehow, kids are getting the money.”

Easy-to-obtain alcohol remains the top drug of choice among area high school students, VanDerKooi said. Marijuana ranks second — while synthetic marijuana, also called Spice or K2, places third. Tobacco is fourth and prescription drugs are fifth.

The most commonly abused prescription drugs in Northwest Ottawa County are the stimulants Adderall and Ritalin, and the painkiller Vicodin. 

Also of growing concern are so-called bath salts, which can induce reactions ranging from chest pains to nose bleeds to violent paranoia. 
“Some of the stuff that’s coming out now, it’s crazy that kids and adults are willing to use it,” Bo said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

ghjhs

I HAVE A 19 YEAR OLD THAT CAME TO ME AND SAID I NEED HELP,HE HAD 102 EMPTY BAGS OF THIS CRAP SPICE AND K2..AFTER ALL KINDS OF SYMPTOMS RANGING FROM BACK PAIN,CHEST AND STOMACH PAIN,PARANOIA AND DEPRESSION..THREE TRIPS TO ER ROOM,X RAYS..NOTHING PHYSICAL WAS EVER FOUND, FAKE SYMPTOMS PRODUCED BY THIS CRAP ALONG WITH WITHDRAW AND WEEKS OF SUICIDE THOUGHTS AND THOUSANDS IN MEDICAL BILLS. THE KIDS USE THIS CRAP BECAUSE YOU CAN PASS A DRUG TEST AS IT DON'T SHOW UP AND YOU CAN BUY IT EASLY.ANYONE EVEN A 10 YEAR OLD CAN BUY IT. WHY OTTAWA CO HAS NOT BAN THE SALE OF IT IS BEYOND ME. PERSONALEY WHEN I GO INTO A BUSINESS THAT SELLS THIS POISION AND HAS NO REGARD FOR THE HARM THAT IT IS CAUSING I TELL THEM I REFUSE TO BUY ANY THING FROM THEIR STORE AND WALK OUT. I WOULD ASK YOU TO DO THE SAME.

MeanSmith

Sir, I think you left the 'caps lock' key on.

ghmom1

Thank you for sharing your story ghjhs. Wishing you and your child strength and courage. It is an arduous path but recovery happens frequently. Love, family, therapy, serving others, healthy diet and exercise are a start and help many. May the life force be with you both.

MeanSmith

This is a great article. We as a community have to get these kids off the crack rocks and marijuana. We need to point them into the right direction to get them in rehab. More and more kids are going down the wrong path. They need help!

davidwarne75

As per the facts most of the teenagers are very easily getting addicted towards drugs like marijuana which is one of the greatest worst issues found in every teenager around the world these facts are worried for every parents. So we should make them aware from the worst negative effects of marijuana and other drugs and allow to stop them from these consumption therefore every community should take better steps towards prevent these symptoms.

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