So we find out that Michael Phelps does it. Heck, Rick Steves, the travel guru, does it as well. Statistics show just under a third of high school teens try/use pot in a year (about 18% in a month). Alcohol use is much higher at about 66% in the last year and 44% in the last month.
When the Michael Phelps story came out, I wasn't particularly shocked in that he's very young and has been in a largely sheltered life of being an athlete. (Not that athletes aren't around drugs but if you are that high a caliber of athlete, you won't have time or desire to do drugs.) But just like our ol' pal Alex Rodriguez who recently admitted to taking some kind of performance-enhancing drug (but he says he just doesn't know what it was or what it did), it's hard to believe that Michael Phelps (when he was training) would put something in his body that might affect his abilities as an athlete. (C'mon A-Rod, someone gives you something to ingest and you have no idea what it is? And, you're a professional athlete?)
What is troubling is that in 2007, over 80% of the high school teens surveyed said that they could easily or very easily get ahold of pot. And, you'd have to believe this could easily filter down to middle school kids.
Congressman Barney Frank introduced a bill last year that would remove federal penalties for personal marijuana use. Pot users are generally non-violent offenders and enforcement of marijuana laws cost American taxpayers $10 billion a year. Marijuana, the 3rd most popular recreational drug after alcohol and tobacco, does have medical benefits to those who use it for that purpose (unlike alcohol and tobacco).
But as parents, do any of us want our kids dealing with drug dealers (even your low-grade high school dealer)? Do we want our kids getting high? Is Michael Phelps setting a bad example where unsophisticated kids say, "See he does it and he won 8 gold medals." I would not be happy if my children smoked pot but frankly, I'm a lot more worried about drinking (and interestingly, more parents, from my experience, seem to have a blind eye for drinking than pot).