The Observer has published letters that they received in response to the article by Tracey McVeigh the previous Sunday
Here is one of the published letters:
Following Tracy McVeigh’s illuminating article (“The families torn apart by teenage skunk epidemic”, Focus, last week), I would like to point out some of the fundamental and disturbing effects of cannabis, particularly that containing a higher THC content, on the developing brain of young people.
Regardless of whether it can be the sole cause of new cases of schizophrenia in those who are susceptible, over 20 years I have witnessed the heartbreaking damage it can inflict not only on those who smoke, but on their families. There is no doubt that skunk can trigger psychotic breakdowns and exacerbate the symptoms of any incipient mental illness, such as hallucinations, fear and paranoia.
Anyone who has witnessed a young person being robbed of their motivation and chances would want to ensure the message of its dangers are made clear to all and that we protect the 10% to 20% who are vulnerable and may be at risk of lifelong mental illness, but don’t know that they are.
Chief executive, Sane
Just read this article online. It is by Tracy McVeigh and was published in the Observer Sunday March 15th 2009
It is a must read for all parents of teenagers . It is a long article but worth making the time to read. If you think this problem just affects other peoples teenagers then you really must read this
Here is an small extract from the article.
‘It is the end of a taboo: articulate, middle-class parents are speaking out about the nightmare of seeing their children spiral into drug abuse and, all too often, mental illness. Many blame themselves for staying silent, assuming that modern strains of cannabis were little different from the pot that baby boomers smoked at college. The reality is very different’
Just read this article about teenagers & skunk from The Times March 16, 2009.
It is quite a long article so I have just given you a taster below. Well worth a read as contains lots of information about skunk as well as a ‘what would you do if your teenagers was smoking skunk’ question and answer session
Here is an extract from the article below:
Skunk: Kids think the strong stuff is the best stuff
There was a furore last week when the novelist Julie Myerson wrote about evicting her teenage son for his skunk addiction. She justified it by saying that Britain needed to wake up to the emergency out there called skunk.
Myerson’s outburst may have seemed slightly hysterical to anyone whose rite of passage included smoking a joint at some hazy point in the past, yet everything about skunk is more powerful than what came before. Its strength and its pervasiveness were cited by the Government as its reasons for raising cannabis back to a Class B drug in January.
Skunk has created a new domestic drugs industry, making millions for illegal farmers – mainly Vietnamese immigrants – on Britain’s industrial estates, and it has done so in an astonishingly short time. Police seizures show that it accounted for barely 10 per cent of the cannabis sold here in the late 1990s; last year it was 80 per cent.
What struck me, talking to teenagers in the course of writing this piece, was the sheer rapidity of this transformation. I’m in my thirties, yet what young people now regard as normal cannabis was unheard of in this country a decade ago. Skunk is horribly strong – you can practically feel your brain cells knocking off, says Ben, a 19-year-old student. But it wasn’t that we asked for it. Growing up in rural Herefordshire, it was all we could get.
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Skunk is an addictive and powerful form of cannabis that has been linked to mental health problems in users.
Skunk is a particularly potent form of Cannabis and has been linked to schizophrenia in several studies. It is thought that up to 25% of new cases of Schizophrenia could be linked to its use.
Young men who smoke cannabis seem to be particularly at risk of developing mental health problems which include loss of concentration, paranoia, aggressiveness and possible development of psychosis
Because of its potency users are more likely to become addicted to Skunk and may require a detox to come off it. Withdrawal symptoms from Skunk may include anxiety, sleep disturbance, headaches, mood swings, & tremors.
Some clinical studies have suggested that prolonged Skunk use causes brain damage visible on brain scans
The recent reclassification of Cannabis & the government TV campaign about the dangers of Cannabis has sought to highlight the mental health effects of cannabis use on young people. Much of the cannabis on the streets today is much more potent and addictive than in the past and the dangers to users are increased