Looking to address what officials are calling an increased potency in marijuana, the Santa Clarita Valley’s high schools are hosting a webinar for parents and community members, a Hart district spokeswoman said Tuesday.
“Today’s marijuana is a lot stronger, and law enforcement and health professionals are saying it’s a gateway drug,” said Gail Pinsker, a spokeswoman for the William S. Hart Union High School District. “So the thought of marijuana not being a big deal has really changed. The impact is that it’s a gateway drug and it’s contributing to more serious drug abuse and it’s impacting our community.”
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The effort is part of a coordinated attempt at drug prevention that’s working in concert with city and law enforcement officials, Pinsker said.
More than 90 percent of the young adults with serious drug problems start with marijuana, said Bob Wachsmuth, a member of the Juvenile Intervention Team at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
And while marijuana use may not lead to harder or more consistent drug use, the potency of today’s marijuana has grown a great deal, he said.
“The fact of the matter is that the seeds were planted for these kids today from five years ago when they were introduced to marijuana,” he said in a recent interview.
“The whole J-Team was created with the idea of breaking the chain of teenagers starting on marijuana and progressing through the variety of drugs through the final end, which is heroin,” he added.
With the CADRE, or Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Reduction Education, the idea is more than just disciplining students, Pinsker said.
“It’s more than we want the kids to miss school for a couple of days,” she said, mentioning a suspension as a possible punishment. “We want the student off drugs.”