Teenagers live life in a cannabis haze
By JENI FAULKNER
IF you reflect on your teenage life as one big slumber party of movie nights and great gossip you definitely weren't growing up in 2005.
It appears many teenagers today have a different social upbringing, one that requires a circle of friends, and a bong, pipe or joint.
Our next generation is fast becoming drug dependent and one of the leading dependencies taking up social activities is marijuana.
The manager of the Ted Noffs Foundation in Coffs Harbour, Richard Miller, has seen his fair share of teenagers suffering the aftermath of extreme cannabis use.
He can see up to eight teenagers for rehabilitation every three months, and they are children aged between 14 and 18 years.
"A lot of teenagers have never learnt how to have fun without drugs," Mr Miller said.
"We have to mood change them, teach them how to be creative with socialising through sport and through counselling."
The Ted Noffs Foundation deals with all teenage drug use, but Mr Miller says the drug of most concern is cannabis because it is readily available and used by so many.
"We are seeing more clients with mental health problems like depression, and being a teenager is hard enough without having to manage yourself through depression," Mr Miller said.
Teenagers withdrawing from cannabis use suffer agitation and, in many cases, isolation and depression. In the most extreme situation they can have suicidal tendencies.
"Occasionally you see teenagers coming back because they hang out with the same peers and they see drug use as fun."
Through the foundation teenagers learn to manage their drug use, while others take a vow of total abstinence.
By the time a teenager reaches the Ted Noffs Foundation they are at a serious drug dependency stage.
Mr Miller said the success rate of his federation was good, with a variety of measures in place after rehab including a six-month follow up.
The Ted Noffs Foundation houses teenagers from the New England area, Queensland and the North Coast.
Mr Miller said most teenagers at the foundation are referred.