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4-20: What Parents Need to Know


      April 20.  4:20.

     What’s the big deal?

Many adults don’t realize that 4-20 (always pronounced ‘four-twenty’, never four-hundred twenty’) is a code or slang term in the drug culture.  The number says pot - "let's smoke pot", or "someone's smoking pot", or "gee, I really like pot”, or "time to smoke pot".   It is noted by time (4:20 a.m. or p.m.) or date (April 20th).   April 20th, in fact, is an underground holiday known as National Weed Day. 

More than 30 years ago, explains (a website devoted to explaining urban legends), 4-20 began its journey into our common language as a bit of slang casually used by a group of high school kids in California. 4-20 “came to be an accepted part of the argot within that group of about a dozen pot smokers, beginning as a reminder of the time they planned to meet to light up, 4:20 p.m. Keep in mind this wasn't a general call to all dope smokers everywhere to toke up at twenty past four every day; it was twelve kids who'd made a date to meet near a certain statue. It's thus incorrect to deem that '420' originated as a national or international dope-smoking time, even though the term began as a reference to a particular time of day.  These days '420' is used as a generic way of declaring one likes to use marijuana or just as a term for the substance itself.”

In some major cities, there are big “smoke ins” on April 20th.  While there aren’t any publicized in our region, for many years young people have made a date to get together and share a marijuana high.  Even teens that don’t normally smoke will sometimes join in, looking at the date as an event not to be missed.

Parents need to let their teens know that they are aware of 4-20’s meaning – if they hear it in conversation, see it on a text-message or find it on the computer’s search history.   They can arm themselves with the facts of how smoking pot affects a person, and let their kids know they take a strong stand against marijuana.  We have tips for talking to your teen about drug use to help you start a life saving discussion.

On 4-20, make an extra effort to be your teens’ anti-drug: know where they’ll be, who they’ll be hanging out with, what they’re planning on doing and how you can contact them.  Ask if there will be adults around – and don’t be afraid to check.  Be a parent.



The latest information from the Office of National Drug Control Policy includes:
1) Kids who are regular marijuana users often have shortened attention spans, decreased energy and ambition, lack of judgment, high distractibility, and impaired ability to communicate and relate to others—a set of symptoms called "amotivational syndrome" by psychologists.
2) Kids who regularly smoke marijuana often make risky decisions about driving or sex.
3) Using marijuana can lead to symptoms of depression and thoughts of suicide.
4) Regular marijuana use can lead to breathing problems and greater exposure to cancerous chemicals than from tobacco. In fact, one marijuana cigarette can deliver four times as much cancer-causing tar as one tobacco cigarette.
5) Marijuana today is more than twice as powerful on average as it was 20 years ago. It contains twice the concentration of THC, the chemical that affects the brain.
6) New studies point to a link between marijuana use and long-term mental illness, including schizophrenia. 

Click here for more on Marijuana Mania

    2000 Prairie View Prevention Services, Inc.