It’s 4/20: Who’s Celebrating?

April 20 may not mean anything to you, but for teens familiar with popular drug culture, April 20 – or “420” — is THE pot-smoking holiday. Pronounced “four-twenty,” this pop-culture reference discretely unifies marijuana users on a particular day. There are many urban legends with regard to the origins of the name: 420 is the supposed number of active chemicals in marijuana, 420 is an alleged police crime code for drug arrests — or, the most common theory is that 4:20 p.m. was the time a group of California teens in the 1960s congregated for a smoke everyday.

Regardless of 420’s actual origins, it is synonymous with one thing for many teens: a day to smoke marijuana. Parents need to be extra vigilant in their monitoring for drug use on this day in particular.

How to Monitor for Marijuana Use:

Listen for slang or coded language that could signify drug use: 420, wake and bake, baked, Mary, blazin’ or blazed, bong, joint, lit, bud, ganja, etc.

Ask Who, What, Where, and When. You should always know the details about your teen’s whereabouts, but pay special attention to a few things on 4/20, such as who your teen will be with, what your teen will be doing, where your teen will be going and when your teen will be back.

Watch for paraphernalia. There are thousands of different kinds of pipes and other smoking devices people use for marijuana. Common household items like soda cans and apples can also be used as pipes. Tell-tale signs include sweet smoke-like smell and black residue. If you suspect use, you should confront your teen.

Watch for physical signs of use. Fortunately, there are distinct symptoms of marijuana use that are easy to tell. Red and bloodshot eyes are a sign of marijuana use, so be on the lookout for recently opened eye drops. Uncontrolled giggling and extreme binge snacking can also be signs of marijuana use.

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