How Cannabis Wrecked My Son’s Life (This story first published in the Daily Express in July 2005)

With predictions of nine excellent passes at GCSE, how could we ever have foreseen that our eldest son, William, would follow a route of drug abuse and destructive behaviour that would bring our family to breaking point? This was the sort of thing that happened to other people, not to families that lived in nice houses in peaceful, leafy suburbs and cared about their children, wanting the best for them, and often making sacrifices so that they could have just that. But we were forced to accept that this was happening in our family. The drug we’re talking about is cannabis.

William is now seventeen, and the eldest of three boys. The others are now 15 and 11. He’d been adored by all of us from the minute he was born. He was a lovely looking child, with bright blue eyes, olive skin and springy dark curls. He’d always been a loving, responsible and outgoing child. He’d done well at school right from the beginning. He had a tendency to be a bit lazy, but what boy isn’t occasionally?

Our problems began when he started smoking at 14, and soon started experimenting with cannabis. I’d always thought cannabis to be pretty harmless, I’d smoked some myself at university and the worst it did to me was to make me want to pass out into a deep sleep ten minutes later!

William had been doing well at secondary school. He was popular and sporty, even being made captain of his school football team. We’d go to watch him on Saturdays. Things seemed to be going fine, he’d occasionally be bolshy and difficult, especially to his father, but we weren’t worried about that particularly. Things soon changed when he entered his GCSE year. Just when we presumed he’d start to revv up for his exams, he began truanting from school a lot, and began also to be rude, aggressive and, at times, quite frightening in his behaviour at home. I’d feel very intimidated by him sometimes when he’d square up to me and be verbally abusive. He started to spend more and more time away from home, sometimes for up to a week at a time without telling us where he was. We’d spend the whole time wondering where he was, instead of getting some rest and enjoying time with our other children. We started to obsess about what we should be doing, in order to solve the problems. So far, none of our ideas seemed effective.

William had begun to smoke dope at home, knowing we disapproved. We banned smoking of any kind in our house. We also drew up a list of other zero-tolerance rules, but within a few hours he would have broken every one of them! I presumed this was all just particularly horrible, adolescent behaviour, until I began reading about the dangers of teenagers starting to smoke so early on in their lives, when their brains were still forming. The dope wasn’t the same stuff as we’d smoked either, it seemed. It was around ten times stronger. I started to panic, and feel really nervous for William, praying he’d stop doing it, come to his senses and get on with his school life. We’d always presumed he’d go to university with a good set of qualifications. But this wasn’t going to be the route for him or for us.
His behaviour at home became worse. We couldn’t believe a word he said, he couldn’t even remember his lies, and would just shout louder and slam out of the house when challenged. If he didn’t get what he wanted, usually money, he’d be beside himself. Once he slammed a door onto my hand when I was going through it, to escape from his raging, landing me in A & E. I didn’t see him for three days after that. I was spending more and more time in tears, feeling frustrated, confused and angry. My husband was exhausted, working all day and then coming home to chaos.

William decided to leave school after GCSEs, saying he hated the place. He had passed all nine, some with very good grades. He decided he would go to the local state-run sixth form college. That summer, the worst was yet to come. He broke into our house when we were away and moved large numbers of his friends into the house, causing damage and mayhem. Every bed was slept in, and we came back to a filthy house, with condoms and evidence of drug use in the bedrooms. I was virtually hysterical and couldn’t believe my eyes. This was a breaking point for us as a family. My husband’s response was to write the child off, saying he’ll never come to any good, he wanted nothing more to do with him. I felt a surge of anger against my husband. He was our son, in spite of what he’d done, I couldn’t harden my heart against my own child. I turned to tell him that if he carried on saying those things that would be the end of our relationship. My other two children heard this outburst, and were obviously very upset. They had had enough disturbance in their young lives, the house seemed to be constantly ringing with arguments between us and William.

My husband persuaded me that we needed to align as a family unit, and gather strength from each other, and that is what we’ve done. William was taking up too much of our time and energy, he would come home after being away for days and, like a tom-cat, spray the house with his bad odour and then leave. It wasn’t fair on us a couple, or on our other two children. One thing I’m pretty sure of, is that neither of them will ever do what William has done. They have seen the pain it has caused. William has now dropped out of school altogether, and is looking for a job. We hope he finds one, and is able to stick to it. His first interview is today. He’s still smoking a lot of dope, and we are by no means out of the mire yet. But things are more peaceful at home. He’s realised that the house rules aren’t going to change. Every time he comes back, they are the same. We did think at one time about excluding him from the house forever, the destruction he was causing seemed too much. But we didn’t, and he comes back. William and my husband aren’t speaking much, my husband is still very angry and also feels shame that this has happened in our family. I’ve told my son that we will always love him unconditionally, that we will be there for him to support him no matter what happens, but the rules at home remain the same. His actions have consequences and he has to realise that.

(c) Debra Bell 2005

26 Responses to “Debra’s Story”

  1. Inner circle
    November 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    This is just a media story that was blown out of proportion and consequently resulted in reclassification of cannabis.
    I have an interesting story for you all which is also my story: when i was 16 my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer after only 6months he passed away after this i began to drink heavily with friends and my behaviour severely deteriorated at home.
    Before you jump to any conclusions i too come from i middle class background and live in the Cotswolds.
    After a year of this i too was kicked out of my home by my mother and lived on a friends sofa for 9 months.
    During that time i drank heavily and eventually smoked a lot of cannabis.
    Eventually after months of this i decided that i needed to stop everything so i quit weed although drinking was deeply entrenched and took a lot longer.
    I now go to uni and smoke this ‘super high grade skunk’ that’s destroying so many lives and my grades remain good.
    So really it was just all part of life and its not the weed its the person
    if your strong willed enough and have the right upbringing.
    Oh btw i saw the program on the bbc the other night and your a stereotypical failure of a parent Debra who’s blaming the drugs for your failings …. and to get five minutes of fame for personal gain one day i hope you realise that… thank you for your time

    • Daniel
      December 16, 2010 at 11:15 pm


      I was your the same as your son when I was growing up but there were some differneces. My brother and I lived alone with our mother as our father never cared for and they split up when we was little.

      I was never really intersted in school apart from PE as i was a really sporty boy who excelled at most sports. In my area drugs were easy to come by from cannabis to trips to e’s although back in them days coke was regarded as a rich mans drug.

      I suppose I was around 14 when I started experimenting with cannabis with my friends and at the time it seemed really cool and I found my place in my social circle as one of the top boys lol. At first everything was really good and me and my mates had a right laugh getting upto mischief but it was never nothing too serious just kids having fun.

      I then turned 16 and left school with not very good grades but decided to go college and learn panel beating whilst on a work placement. As you can guess I was very interested in being at work but the day release at college bored me to tears lol and missed most college sessions. I had been working there for approx 1yr and me and friends were in the pub and there was an England game being shown live which we lost. A fight broke out in the pub and everyone was kicked out but we had been drinking and wanted more drink. So we had a plan (stupid) to smash the local off lisence window and break in and get us more bear.

      We did this and even more stupidily started having a street party down the road from the offy we just robbed. Obviously the police came and we all got arrested. After a long night in the cells I was finally released and my brother was on the prowl looking for me. Naturally I was scared to go home because my mum was going to go absolutely nuts. eventaully I plucked up the courage to go back and I got in an arguement with my mum and she kicked me out. I phoned up work the next day and told them that I needed to look for somewhere to live and I wouldn’t be in. They said to me that my mum had phoned worrying where I was and had i turned up for work and consequently told them the whole story. i was then told by my boss that he didn’t want me working at his garrage.

      This in when things started to go really bad I had no where to live, no job and no money. I used to kip on various friedns sofa’s and some of them really helped me out. My cannabis addiction was getting worse and it was all that I cared about because they was nothing else to do aprt from get stonned and watch the days fly by.

      After a series of mix up with the law and older drug dealers who I owed money too I decided that enough was enough and i had to move away. I did this when I was 19 yrs old and had a series of jobs through various agencies. I was still smoking dope but it was more of a reward for the days work I had been doing. When I was about 22 i landed a job as a machine Operator for a big manufacturing company and all of a sudden things started to click. By the time I was 25 I was running the whole factory as a production manager.

      I am 33yrs old now and I have just got back from Amsterdamn as I went to have one last blast to say good bye to a life style that has been present since I was around 14. When I smoke dope I get lazy and can’t be bothered to do anything and too tell you the truth its all I was caring about. I have hadn’t a joint now for 8 weeks and I am so alive and full of energy i don’t know where it has come from lol.

      My advice to parents is if your son/daughter start to dabble into drugs don’t make a big scene out of it because they will only rebel and do it more. I could never talk to my mum about the problems I was having but it was hard for because she was trying to be mum and dad but at the same time she was working all the time so it was easy for me to do what i wanted.

      Anyway sorry for the long post If anyone is interested or wants advise just reply to my comment and I will always try and give you my opinion.



      • scrappydont
        July 22, 2012 at 1:15 am

        Dear Dan,
        I read your post. I was saddened by what I read, but then you had a glimmer of hope and it grew, you got chances and positive things started happening. I guess you could have been a lot worse, gladly you were not. :) I have tiny twins and a toddler who is struggling to get his parents attention because they are so hands on with the twins. I really feel for him and cry to him occasionally, ” I’m sorry I haven’t spent time with you, I WANT to play with you, have play time and do things with you, bt it doesn’t turn out like that…” and I see his mind wander off into the distance, I’m afraid of losing him, his mind is already elsewhere and I hope he doesn’t turn to negative ‘mates’ drink or drugs. Do you have any advice for me? I have to MAKE time for him don’t I? Make quality time to be with him…

    • Sarah
      December 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      I have recently seen you comment, Debra, on Bob Ainsworth’s assertion that drugs should be legalised and regulated. Your argument is that were this the case, William would most likely have gone on to harder drugs. That may be so, but what seems more likely is that the cannabis that he would have been buying would have been grown legally, under controlled circumstances, and would have been a far cry from the dangerously strong ‘skunk’ that he ended up smoking. Now I have been smoking this pretty much every day since I was 16, and I received a first class degree at Leeds University. I don’t think you can fairly say that the cannabis was the cause of all of William’s problems – my sister smokes perhaps more than I and she is currently doing a Masters in International development and giving a conference next year. OK, it may be true that William became increasingly lethargic and inactive when it came to his schooling, but he made those choices with his life. Sad, but true. Since the beginning of time mankind has found ways to become intoxicated, Mayans, Incans, Romans, Sumerians – every kind of civilization has experimented with drugs. So rather than try to prevent humanity from doing something that they will do anyway, perhaps we should make it safer. Have you thought about the kind of people William has had to go to meet up with to feed his habit? Wouldn’t you rather he just went to the chemist if he can’t be stopped from buying it? Drugs gangs are some of the most violent and brutal people in the world, the things they do for money at the expense of others’ health are abhorrent. And if you arrest one top guy, a vacuum opens up and someone else moves in and perpetuates the violence. Prohibition is wrong for all sort of reasons, but for me, its primarily the need to stop the gang culture that is ruining inner city society. Its easy to blame cannabis for your son’s rebellion, but if it remains illegal, as it is now, nothing will change for you.

    • lynne
      May 10, 2011 at 11:57 am

      you really have no idea the pain this kind of drug behaviour has on familys. you should be ashamed of your comments, my son has ripped my family apart and ive been a loving parent all his life. My son has changed into a monster due to cannabais and i found debras story very helpful as i dont feel so isolated. I wonder if your views would be the same if this happened to you, dont be so judgemental !

  2. Diana
    November 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Dear Debra
    I’m reading The Cannabis Diaries for the second time. I bought it after reading the serialisation in the Mail. Your story is so similar to mine – can’t now believe what a lot we have both been through. Our son is now back from rehab and living apart from us in a shared house. So far, so good, but I find it hard to believe the nightmare is all over. He now says he will never smoke again, and I do hope so for all our sakes.
    Thanks for writing about what happened to you – it helps to know you are not alone.
    Best wishes

  3. Jim
    November 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I have just finished reading your book ‘The Cannabis Diaries’. I saw you on Sky tv, and was interested to read your story. I work in a PRU (a pupil referral unit), and you have had one child out of his head on skunk, often I am faced with 40 or so kids who are all stoned or have been the night before. I look in their eyes, and they are just not there. It is impossible to get them interested in anything. Quite frightening for all of us. Skunk needs to be taken more seriously. I can tell the difference when a child has not been ‘blazing’, and we do talk about it but smoking is so much part of their lives. It worries me a lot. I shall be using your book in class.

  4. Lisa
    November 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Dear Debra
    I heard you talking to Ian on LBC; thank-you so much for coming out with your story. I’m sure you’re helping loads of people.
    My story is very similar.
    Thank-you once again. Lisa.

  5. Jasper
    November 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I have a son addicted to Cannabis . I am a serving Police Officer at my wits end.
    I thank you for showing me I’m not alone. Bless You.

  6. M
    November 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Hello Debra,

    I’m sure your life has been made very difficult by this, but since you’re already brave enough to tell this story, then why do you keep lying to yourself?

    Your son is obviously not just smoking weed, from your descriptions, he’s a fullblown cocaine user or something of the same grade. Weed would not do all that to him.

    I’m not a smoker myself but I work with kids on drugs and you need a bit of a reality check and your son needs rehab. I’m saying this out of concern. I’m sorry for your suffering.


  7. Brad
    December 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Hello all readers of this website.

    Let me please analyse what the majority all these sob stories have in common;

    -Your CHILD starting smoking cannabis when they were very young (13/14/15) and so their brain was still developing, do you not think regular binge drinking would have the same effect to an undeveloped brain? I can’t believe as parents you let this happen when they were so young.

    -Other HARDER drugs have been misused at the same time yet the focus seems to be on how evil cannabis is!!

    I smoked cannabis once a fortnight while I was 17/18/19, then once in a blue moon until I was about 22/23. I’m now 25 and have usually smoked one or two joints a night after work. I work 9-5 in IT where I’m earning 25k, I never miss a day of work or go in ‘hung-over’ or late, I own a car and rent a flat, I’m also studying for an extra IT qualification…I’ve never taken anything other than weed and alcohol (except magic mushrooms 2 times) and have no desire at all to take anything else…

    I have two points I would like to make;

    -If you start smoking cannabis heavily when your still a child (18 at minimum) then you are obviously going to mess your brain up!! If you started drinking 6 cups of coffee a day at that age do you think it would mess you up too?

    -It isn’t as black and white as saying it is the fault of cannabis…It is very much influenced by the person!! I smoke cannabis to have a chill and get a deeper insight and enjoyment out of films or music or have freethinking conversations with friends whereas some kids on the street might smoke it to get buzzing and go around causing trouble…these are two very very different situations but the same drug!!!

    If anybody wants to counter me and say I’m wrong then I’d be glad to respond as the only concrete fact with the above is that it is my humble opinion…and any ‘facts’ you want to throw at me by advisors or scientists claiming cannabis is bad, give me a few minutes and I’ll find the counter argument put forward by an advisor/scientist of the exact same accolade!!


  8. Steve
    December 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Yes, cannabis is now “ten times stronger”. It’s called skunk. To produce skunk costs the same in money, equipment and legal risk as the stuff we smoked as kids; let’s call it standard cannabis.
    Thanks to people like you, Debra, standard cannabis is the same level of criminality as skunk. Standard cannabis does not cause your son’s problems, not by itself. Your son probably has other issues, or uses other substances, or both.
    Skunk can cause some of these issues to normal people but while there are blinkered individuals like you around, Debra, all cannabis will be equally illegal, so we aren’t going to get very far.
    Skunk and standard cannabis is also “cut” (diluted, bulked up) with some dreadful chemicals.
    All you’re doing is pushing the price up, increasing the supply and not decreasing the demand.
    Make standard cannabis legal – with the same sort of safeguards as we give to drugs like nicotine and alcohol – and ramp up the penalities for anything nastier, including IMHO skunk.
    The Americans tried prohibiting alcohol in the 1920′s and look where that got them. Why don’t we learn?

  9. Chris
    December 16, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Well whats William got to say about all this? Where is his side of the story? I am sure at that age Alcohole was becoming more appealing, and its that which bring the heavier drug use such as cocain.

    If left to smoke a bit at home, you know where he is. Hes round the correct people. And you might have seen that being stoned is harmless. He clearly spent so much time away because he didnt like being at home, a sign of an overly controlling family unit, strict middle class we live like this what would the neighbours think.

  10. Dan
    December 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I’m sorry for the problems with your son,

    The fact that cannabis is illegal makes it more attractive for kids at that age. Its illegality makes doing it more exciting and rebellious. It also means that by doing it they become ‘baptised’ as criminals.
    I’m sorry your house was ‘trashed’, but you aren’t the first and certainly won’t be the last parents who have had to deal with a situation like that.

    Your husband’s response however – wanting to cut your son off entirely as a result of the party and other problems suggests your family has some serious issues other than cannabis to deal with.
    Perhaps your son’s drug use is partly a form of escapism

    I would rather see an honest approach in this country and decriminalising it would take away much of the attraction, allowing kids to see it for exactly what it is.
    They also would not have to buy tainted, poisonous cannabis on the black market from dealers who are also offering harder more dangerous drugs.

  11. Natalie Baker
    December 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Debra,
    I do agree with you that adolescents should not be smoking weed, or drinking for that matter. I do think that your opinion is just that, opinion. Your fact sheet is biased and does not provide facts but stereotypes of marijuana. I advise you watch the documentary ”the union” and inform yourself of the other side. I’m sorry to hear that your son caused so much trouble because of canabis but you should realise that this could have easily been due to alcohol as well. I’m a 25 year old Canadian girl who only started smoking marijuana in my 3rd year of college. It is very much part of the culture in my generation, where instead of going to binge drink, we socialize among ourselves in the comfort of our homes and share a joint, play music and have conversation. I feel if done in moderation, it does not cause the symptoms that you described. Everyone who smokes reacts differently, similar to drinking. Ask yourself why alcohol is legal, when so many people abuse it, causing accidents and domestic abuse. I have never heard of a case of domestic abuse caused by someone being high. Anyway, I do not think that marijuana is healthy, that would be absurd. I do think there is a lot of propaganda towards the substance and am sad to hear that so many young people are using the drug.
    My mother works in the education system and this has become a critical issue among youth. Much like a teacher can tell when a student is drunk, a teacher should be able to tell when a student is high. I do feel that restricting the abuse in young children is similar to the restriction of alcohol for that age. I don’t think it should be categorized as a hard drug since it has proven to have a multitude of medicinal benefits, ranging from helping insomniacs to alleviating pain in cancer patients.
    I hope I have given you a different perspective to think about that will enable you to reach your goal. Thank you for the information

  12. oneton
    December 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    hi, i’m a cannabis smoker, i enjoy getting in from work having my dinner then unwinding with a joint. my life is fine and the only negative effect cannabis has on my life is i could be arrested and possibly jailed for doing something in private in my own home. i think its rediculous as my actions harm no-one.
    yes there will allways be people that develop problems and abuse substances, alchol, aerosols and hydrocarbons which are completely legal cause many deaths and destroy families.
    i think the issue of substance abuse and cannabis use are getting confused. the fact that cannabis is a controlled substance does not mean that it is more dangerous than alcohol or another teenage favourite aerosols. this can be seen by the number of deaths assosiated with the substance each year.
    There has never been a single recorded death from cannabis consumption anywhere in the world, ever. which is an impressive record since its been consumed for hundereds of years
    the fact that cannabis is illeagal and sold by dealers and not shops makes cannabis more available to kids. so dont blame the cannabis for your sons demise but blame the missuse of drugs act. which when you stop and think about it has acheived nothing but giving control of substances to irresponsible dealers that make good money by selling your kids pot. the ilegality of cannabis has not, and will not make it go away. wake up people

  13. Rory
    December 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I can appreciate the strain and disruption that must be felt by the families concerned and I can see why these events may appear to be the result of some external catalyst – driving the teenager to such extremes. However, it is more complex than one simple factor leading to these terrible results. Like all cases of extreme teenage adolescent behaviour, it is a combination of external and internal forces that lead to such extremes, for instance personality, confidence, up bringing, social environment, relationships… the list goes on.

    When a son/daughter is so extreme in their antisocial behaviour – something that must seem so alien from your lifestyle and what you intended for the child – it is natural or logical to presume that one thing is driving this behaviour. However, more often that not, it isn’t one particular thing but these extreme situations make parents eem so helpless, “why us” and it leads to of trying to find a particular root/source of the problem “We started to obsess about what we should be doing, in order to solve the problems”. Unfortunately it is not that simple, Cannabis is often not source of the problem, rather it is an output or (rebellious) outlet of the problem. (A + cannabis) does not = the problem, in fact cannabis is a result. Cannabis is normally one of many outlets that teenagers resort to, like drinking, like skipping school, mainly because its breaking from the restraints and supposed oppression that they are feeling at home and at school etc.

    This comment isn’t meant to promote cannabis, instead I just want to highlight that it isn’t a source of the problem. If cannabis didn’t exist then we would be reading a similar story about a child who had gone through the same problems but with a different outlet, like drink like cocaine like vandalism etc. I sorry to put it in such general and inperosnal terms for the parents but I feel it just highlights a fundamental problem with how society and the government perceive drugs and the impact of drugs.

  14. Adam
    December 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Another argument from ignorant people who blame cannabis for all their sons problems.

    You have concentrated on weed being the sole reason why you son was acting this way but it is not. His attitude has changed as he got older (Like most adolescence) and wanting to smoke was part of the change not the reason for it.

    This sounds allot like me actually. When I was young I was an A student then started rebelling and quit school after GCSEs (which I underperformed in). I threw parties when my parents were away and stay out all night ect but I don’t find weed enjoyable so don’t often use it. So what is the evil thing that has forced me on my road to self self-destruction. Is it that I have a mind of my own and decided that I wanted to live a certain way, lost interest in the standard education system, enjoy partying and have a different set of morals to your self??? Or would it be easier to blame TV maybe???

    I think if you were more open minded parents, appreciated his point of view and had a looser grip on your son he would still smoke but it would be a much more loving environment and he would grow up happier and more content instead of bitter. Just a suggestion.

  15. ciaran
    December 16, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Cannabis isnt the problem, its the access and trying to raise the money to pay for it, many people will break the law to obtain the cash to pay for it, if it was legalised(for over 18s or even 21s) the debt problem this country has could be solved in a few short years, people have to remember that no one has ever died as a result of smoking weed but alcohol on the other hand is as dangerous as cocaine but not as much as heroine(believe it or not)ive been smoking weed over 20 years now and have been manager of two bars and a restaurant, ive never had these problems, the problems you mention above i believe-has got something else underlying, he has been stealing from you and others so a few lies will just roll off his tongue, maybe he does need help but dont blame the weed, get the scumbag dealers off the streets and have it from registered officials, all you have to do is look at Portugal, Amsterdam and now even California, there are many other states in the US that also will start to decriminalise cannabis as they see how much revenue from tax can be made.

  16. Alan
    December 17, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Dear Debra,

    I agree with the below statement in that it is not the cannabis, but the person smoking it.I’ve known a friend for many years now who heavily smokes skunk. It gets him mellow, however he’s still the same person. He’s not out of control and I think that it is the upbringing your son has had that has made him this way. Maybe it was you, maybe his friends, but people are definitely a consequence of their environment. Maybe he couldn’t stand the pretentious household you run??

  17. Gary
    April 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Dear Debra,

    I came across your website today, whilst searching for help with a problem my family currently has that is virtually identical to yours.

    My son is fourteen, but as far as I can tell tried cannabis for the first time at the age of thirteen, almost exactly a year ago. Since that time our experiences have mirrored your own. He has stolen from us, done damage to our home, and been both physically and verbally abusive. Until last year our son was a very bright, outward going young man with a first rate academic record.

    Today he has a string of arrests to his name, has run away numerous times, and has been expelled from school. He has also been excluded from school for violence towards a member of staff. This has all happened since he first used cannabis.

    Like you we have three sons, and the younger two have been placed under unacceptable pressure as a result of our oldest son’s cannabis use. Additionally the relationship between my wife and I has also been massively strained.

    As with yourselves society would see us as being ‘middle class’, which in my experience means the authorities don’t see a need to help you. We tried to enlist the help of Social Services in our town, but they refused to accept our concerns about cannabis. Their interventions made of situation dramatically worse, and they failed to provide any meaningful support with regards to our son’s drug use.

    Currently things are calmer with our son, although he still has one serious court case pending. As he is a minor when he is convicted we have to pay the costs of his offending, and he learns nothing from the experience. Youth Offenders in our part of the country having been called ‘failing’.

    At the moment our son lives with us. Like your husband I was minded to throw him out, but my wife would not allow it. He lives with us, we feed and clothe him, but he refuses to take part in any family activities. This is just a sad waste of what could and should have been a highly productive family.

    All because of cannabis.

    It is about time the authorities realised how dangerous and addictive this drug is, rather than turning a blind eye to it and allowing it to destroy families like ours. It could easily be their families next.

    Many thanks for your support,



  18. Tracey crutchley
    April 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    We are going through exactlythe aame

  19. Charmaine
    April 22, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Thank you everyone for the post. However, my son been in prison twice due to taking cannabis and maybe with cocaine.My son was ex pro footballer but started to mix with wrong friends and into drugs. He clearly taking it because of peer pressure and addiction not because he has problems at home.The friends who sell the drugs want an income and they are clearly pushing it to make a living. My son is now taking the drug or drugs like hes smoking cigrate. Hes become like a cabbage does not want to do anything and sleeps most of the time. Please dont underestimate parents who are facing an addicted child its heart breaking to watch your child pressing a destructive button.

  20. Frank M
    April 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    It sounds to me like your son has ADHD….which i have. I smoke marijuana too and i was recently diagnosed with it. It’s not that big of a deal. I’m extremely different. Your son is DIFFERENT. But you are treating him like an outcast because of it. He has different views than you do and you need to accept that. Treating him like he’s doing something horribly wrong won’t solve anything. My mother used to be the same way. i’m 21 now, and just recently she’s starting to realize i’m still the same Frank she used to love, i just think and do things differently. Now that she’s ok with me vaporizing and eating it, which has no harmful effects from smoke, everything is better at home and i have a very strong connection with her like i never used to. you need to accept that your son likes to smoke marijuana and do a bit of research. You need to realize that it’s really not a big deal. It’s not. I am TERRIBLE in school and i have no interest in it. That doesn’t make me dumb. i have an IQ of 133 and i love to learn in my own time. I am into music and i am showing promise as a future politician. your son is not some kind of loser, so don’t treat him like one. This website is insulting to him and people like me.

  21. Would Rather Stay Anonymous
    July 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Don’t Want to nag but…

    The first thing I was thinking of after reading the article that this woman was a bad parent, not for letting her child do cannabis but as she was open about his name (which did not benefit him in the slightest), finally writing him off for a party (the party seemed just like a regular teenage party to me, if he did drugs or not, people who come to contact with your son do). I think reflecting her negativity towards cannabis as she blamed without proof that cannabis was all to blame.
    , when it could have been anything, falling out with friends or even bullies (as a parent a child [especially male] will not share things with you as openly, so what your impression of him was at school could be way off the mark).

    I read this and thought secondly. This isn’t necessarily the cannabis. I’ve been going through the same sort of things at home, it all started when I was about 13, and for a while i was uncontrollable. I don’t know what caused it,possibly a part of growing up? There was a a lot of stress in the house and I resented my step-father for he would get under my skin for many different things, such as probably being the most immature in the house when goings got tough, I add he was a man in his fifty’s. That at the time wrote him off in my mind as a parenting figure, and not obeying him when he commanded (often) but was willing if he asked nicely. It seemed to me that he would just love to be in control, and like your son I squared up to him plenty of times.

    Puberty ruined my life at that time more than Cannabis.

    I didn’t start taking cannabis until the peak of the hatred at home, and it was likely the reason i took the cannabis anyway or outside family troubles. I can actually thank cannabis for getting me through the hard times as it was inspirational for the self judgement I’ve had recently, which has set me going in the correct direction of being a better person for others and myself.

    I’m not trying to be that complaining idiot, you gave your side, and I’m giving my side, even though my story wont have the impact as yours, if it did then maybe cannabis would be a class C or even decriminalized. It was in one of my ‘stoned’ moments I discovered religion. My religion, of carpe diem – seize the day in Latin, a sort of You Only Live Once (YOLO) that encouraged me to do good unlike the common, stupid teen slang meaning I’ll do what I want if its fun. I live by my standards, I have good common sense (despite having taking an illegal drug) and I let my own mind choose what to do, i.e I would never take any other drugs, including class C I’ve tried very hard to become less of the ass-hole I was, I forgive people easier and learn to respect people more. It is also IMPORTANT to say I read into cannabis for days and days, I estimate around 150 hours before taking cannabis, and made my decision that I would take the drug, if I didn’t like the drug, I wouldn’t do it again, and if I had ANY ill effects I would stop immediately. I have experienced (but understand some do) no ill effects but I have come to one conclusion about cannabis :

    The worst thing about it it’s illegal.

    I would much prefer it to be LEGAL, not having to go to shady dealers that make you more susceptible to take other, stronger drugs or having to worry about the law, and it even might take the WOW factor way, and prevent some teens from wanting to take it.. If the government was in close watch over the drug, i.e not allowing skunk, for its high THC – low CBD concentration, and creating a card such as a digital cannabis card with a “max withdrawal” preventing you from getting more than a specific (reasonable) amount of weed, and preventing you from buying as often if at all if you have any ill-side effects.

    A few years on from the start of the story and I’m enjoying life. I only do cannabis on a very irregular basis as I ever did, and I have narrow sights of my future life goals (hoping to be a doctor). I hope the issues at home with William are better, if not excellent once more. I finish with my conclusion.

    If you can get through puberty, you can get though anything.

    Growing up is getting increasingly harder, more stressful and it cannot be compared to when my parents were going through the same thing (word of my father). I have not been in trouble with police as I would like to avoid so, for I do not want a bad name, waste their time on a petty case which would not benefit them or prevent me doing cannabis. I respect you if I may keep my identity anonymous .

  22. Walter
    April 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Just throwing out another perspective to this:

    Started smoking cannabis when i was 16, stopped when i was 17-19 because I was in a relationship with someone who didn’t like me smoking it. I’m 21 now and for the past 2 years or so i’ve been smoking every single day in the evenings.

    I’ve just finished university, set to go into a full time job, work part time currently and i’ve never been behind in work or turned up late. Never been aggressive to anyone ,never displayed any of the negative symptoms that are so commonly used to condemn its use – the worst part is actually that i smoke tobacco with it which admittedly hasn’t made me terribly fit and healthy but i eat normally anyway (the issue isn’t really the tobacco since that’s legal!) The most distressing events in my life have nearly ALWAYS been centered around alcohol.

    My point isn’t that cannabis should be legal and alcohol should be illegal however, they should both be legal. Thinking about it logically and reasonably we should think about this a completely different way. The current situation as it is means that ANYONE who smokes cannabis is a criminal in the uk. That’s irrespective of behaviour. As someone who has never pressured another individual to try cannabis, who privately partakes in an activity that affects NO ONE else, why should I be treated as a criminal? Should I really be reprimanded because of something I do in my own time & has no impact on the way I live my life academically or professionally?

    The counter argument is this: It does affect some people. I understand that Debra has had a pretty bad experience as her son was evidently not the best person to be smoking cannabis.
    Can we not see similar issues with alcohol? Are we not all aware of the issues that alcohol has on people and the impact it has on families?
    The fundamental reason alcohol remains legal is that it’s our ‘culture’ and we’ve also seen the issues prohibition brings. But if people have issues with alcohol, they can be addressed without the pretence that they are a criminal! If we regulate and control the sale of cannabis, people who do have issues with it can be helped via legal channels. The population of users who are sensible, kind and caring individuals who contribute to society don’t have to deal with criminals, as they do now. How can we possibly control or regulate what is being given out to people when criminals control the business and reap the MASSIVE profits? Where else could maybe this money be put into? maybe SUPPORT instead of wasting money on the ‘war on drugs’?

    Drunken idiots get arrested. If a stoner wanders into the street and punches someone, he should be arrested BECAUSE HE’S JUST ASSAULTED SOMEONE and treated in the same way as any other idiot who goes out of their way to hurt someone.

    If we have concerns about children getting access to narcotics, what better way to control that than having legal premises that require the individual is 21 and needs ID before being served, the same as alcohol (admittedly it’s 18 but the concept remains the same). Criminals do not need ID, they care about the money. We can’t protect EVERYONE and it’s not societies responsibility on the actions that individuals make about their private lives.

    Legalisation provides tax revenue to help support individuals who need it, stops upstanding members of society who cause no harm by their actions in their private lives being criminals, regulates the strength of the product and can reduce the ability for the young to get access to it?

    Option 2: keep it as it is now, and treat everyone like a criminal and a crazed addict.

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