Whether you vape or smoke marijuana yourself, or you're just worried about your children or grandchildren picking it up, you may find an upcoming event at Athens City Schools informative.
A representative of Steered Straight Inc. will talk Monday about the dangers and misconceptions of vaping and marijuana use during presentations to three city schools and the public.
The presentations, titled "Vaping Me Crazy" and "Weed Between the Lines," will be delivered by Michael DeLeon, the No. 1 requested presenter on these topics in the United States, said Darla DeLeon, executive director of Steered Straight of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
"The presentations give student the truth about e-cigarettes and what ingesting volatile organic compounds can do to the body," Darla DeLeon said. "These assemblies will discuss how the students are being targeted with marijuana and what the solutions are for them to stay in their lane."
She said the assemblies are followed up with a yearlong curriculum that is an added asset to current education on these matters, and each student will receive educational materials to take home.
Here is the presentation schedule for Monday:
• 8:40 to 9:35 a.m. — students and faculty at Athens High School;
• 9:50 to 10:50 a.m. — students and faculty at Athens Renaissance School;
• 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. — students and faculty at Athens Renaissance School;
• 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. — students and faculty at Athens Middle School; and
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. — community at Athens High School.
Michael DeLeon said today's marijuana is a hybrid cross between regular marijuana and concentrated THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. He said the additives are designed to make the body and mind more addicted, and the hybrid crosses the line once considered natural and acceptable for medicinal purposes. He said his seminar will help audiences better understand the impending risk associated with marijuana use and the impact legalization would have on children.
As for vaping, he said 55% of high school students and 33% of middle school students surveyed reported they were current e-cigarette users. He added kids who begin using e-devices are six times more likely to become dependent on nicotine than those who don't.
He said research shows those who use e-cigarettes show a 55% increase in depression and anxiety, are 44% more likely to suffer a stroke, and are 34% more likely to suffer a heart attack.
A recent survey of children showed 37% did not even know nicotine was inhaled when vaping, he said.