28 Dec Preventing Teen Drug Abuse
Many of the issues surrounding teenage drug and alcohol abuse are the same as those related to adult substance abuse. Teens have access to and are using the same drugs that adults use. The warning signs, symptoms and side effects for teens and adults who are using drugs are similar. Once an addiction has been established, treatment options are the same, including inpatient drug rehabilitation programs.
The main difference between teen and adult substance abuse is the rate of addiction; teenagers become addicted to drugs and alcohol much more easily than adults. In fact, the majority of adults who are addicted to drugs or alcohol began using in adolescence.
One of the most effective methods of reducing overall addiction rates is to prevent substance abuse among adolescents. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of parents because they are the ones who are able to make the biggest impact in the lives of teens. Teachers, friends, and mentors should also help. Here are some ways that parents and loved ones can prevent their children from using drugs and alcohol:
Communication: Having an open dialogue about drugs and alcohol with your child is the single most important thing you can do to prevent substance abuse. Make your talks a conversation, not a confrontation. Your teen should feel comfortable coming to you with questions about drugs and alcohol and you should be able to answer them calmly, honestly, and intelligently.
Family History: Having a history of addiction in your family is an indication that your children may be at higher risk. Don’t be afraid to tell your children if their loved ones have suffered from substance abuse problems and the negative impact it has had on their lives. It will help the teenagers to think twice about becoming involved in that situation.
Avoid Denial: Trusting your children is important, but no teen is immune to drug and alcohol abuse. Know the warning signs and symptoms of substance abuse and watch out for them in your teens. Familiarize yourself with the terms and slang associated with drugs so you’ll recognize them if they crop up. If you begin to notice signs in your teen, talk to them about it.
Limit Access: Keep track of your own prescription medications and make sure they’re all accounted for. Do the same for alcohol and if you suspect your teen is tempted to use it, lock it up.
Be a Good Example:The old adage, “do as I say, not as I do,” never works. If your teen sees you smoking and drinking frequently, they will assume this is an appropriate way for them to conduct themselves. Make sure your teen knows that if you do have the occasional glass of wine, this is an activity reserved only for adults. Explain to them that there is a reason for the legal drinking age to be 21.