PSA: The Gateway Drug

Dear Rockville High School Parents,

Despite recent movements toward the legalization of marijuana, I encourage you to remind your kids that experimenting with marijuana is still dangerous, as it is a gateway drug to more harmful activities. Teens who use marijuana are increasingly likely to purchase it on the internet using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. In fact, recent studies have shown that not only are marijuana users using Bitcoin to purchase drugs, but the vast majority of them also consider Bitcoin to be “a sound investment.”

While marijuana is generally known to be safe for recreational use, the dangers of Bitcoin remain relatively unknown. Marijuana use causes short-term symptoms like slowed coordination and increased appetite, but Bitcoin use has been linked to severe delusions, such as believing that purchasing a highly speculative digital asset with known security vulnerabilities constitutes responsible financial planning.

Young people who partake in high-risk activities like investing in Bitcoin tend to view themselves as invincible. “But Mom,” your child might say to you, “the price of Bitcoin has increased dramatically over time, and the market corrections it is currently experiencing are normal and should not be taken as a reflection on its stability as an asset.” Explain to your child that even though all their friends are buying Bitcoin and it seems safe now, we know very little about the long-term effects of Bitcoin ownership.

Your child might also try to convince you that Bitcoin is not addictive. While it is true that Bitcoin does not contain addictive chemicals like alcohol or nicotine (in fact, nobody really knows what Bitcoin doescontain), regular Bitcoin users have been known to experience symptoms linked with dependence. Such symptoms include making frequent trades, turning most dinner-table conversations into trying to explain the Blockchain, and insisting that drops in price are not only safe but also an invitation to buy even more Bitcoin.

We would like you to know that our school has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the purchase, exchange, or “mining” of Bitcoin on school grounds. We are also aware of slang terminology used in the discussion of cryptocurrencies, such as “Hodl,” a bastardization of the word “hold” that refers to the incredibly dangerous practice of remaining invested in the cryptocurrency market as it collapses irreparably. As such, any discussions of “hodling” or other such activities will result in a prompt investigation. Here at Rockville, our students’ safety is our top priority.

It is truly sad to see so many teens go from being harmless marijuana users to investing all their savings in the cryptocurrency market. Our children should not be buying marijuana on the internet; they should be buying it from their cousin’s friend, just like we did.

Principal Reynolds


Programmer, musician, writer, New Yorker

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