Bookmark and Share

Cheech, Chong and Gone!

Remember Cheech and Chong and their druggie comic rendering of late 1970’s and 80’s drug culture? Their routines of two drug addled pals bumping a bewildered path through life were common fare in campus dorm rooms. Their 1979 film “Up in Smoke” was followed by the comedy album, “Let’s Make a Dope Deal”. Plenty of laughs, yucks and dollars to be made.

But you know what’s really funny about Cheech and Chong? Their oeuvre has been tragically misunderstood. Their work is more documentary than comedy. It’s clear to anyone who has spent any amount of time trying to teach or just communicate with substance abusing teens or young adults.

While Cheech and Chong were not on the agenda of the University of Wisconsin’s recent “Boys and Girls at Risk” national conference, I couldn’t help thinking about the dazed duo and their druggie comedy shtick.

The conference keynote speaker was University of San Diego – California researcher Susan Tapert Ph.D., who has done extensive research on the brain functioning – or misfiring – of adolescent substance users. Much of her research has been on the two most commonly used teen drugs – alcohol and marijuana. Using detailed, systematic computer analysis of MRI brain imagery Tapert and her colleagues get a literal peek inside the skulls of both drug using and non-using adolescents.

Here are a few highlights from Tapert’s research for kids, parents and teachers to consider:

The take-away message from all this research is that substance abuse assaults kids on multiple levels at the same time, resulting in high risk and actual consequences across the full spectrum of their lives. I see the evidence of that every day in my counseling practice. Teachers experience the same thing. I recently read that Cheech and Chong are thinking of coming out of retirement to make a new movie, “Grumpy Old Stoners”. They’re not the only one feeling kind of grumpy.

Mark L. Taylor MA LPC SAC is a Wisconsin licensed counselor who works extensively with adolescents and their families. He also founded the RoundRiver Institute LLC, a learning center near Genoa, WI. Permission is granted for personal use of this material. If you pass it on to other individuals please include a link back to this page. If you wish to use it in a newsletter or publication please contact Mark at:

© Mark L. Taylor and RoundRiver Institute LLC