Katie Granju was concerned when her 14-year-old son Henry confessed that he had smoked marijuana a couple times with his friends, but she was comforted by the fact that he had been honest with her and promised never to make such a bad decision again. It seemed like an isolated incident.
Four years later, Henry suffered a drug-related brain injury after an accidental overdose and spent five weeks fighting for his life in the hospital. He died on May 31, 2010.
Five days before his death, Henry’s mother wrote an emotional blog post detailing what she would do differently if she could rewind back to when Henry first confessed his experimentation with drugs. She writes:
I would have assumed that any time a 14 year old is experimenting with drugs, we are looking at a potentially serious problem that needs proactive, immediate and ongoing intervention. I am not saying that every 14 year old smoking pot is a drug addict or will become a drug addict, but NO 14 year old needs to be using drugs. Period.
Now, a year after Henry’s death, Granju still struggles with her role in her son’s death, and the danger of teenage drug use. She wants to raise awareness of the potential consequences of even seemingly harmless experimentation, so that no other parent has to suffer through what she has experienced.
Government surveys showed that nearly a quarter of high school seniors polled had used marijuana within the last 30 days. In 2010, marijuana use among eighth graders increased from 14.5 percent to 16 percent.
It’s a fact that kids who start using drugs or alcohol at a younger age are more likely to become addicts later in life. Even if you smoked pot during high school and turned out fine, don’t assume that your child will have the same experience. The stakes — possibly your child’s life — are way too high.
Photo credit: Kazarelth