Teenage Addiction: How Can We Prevent Drug Abuse Among Our Youth?
One in three teens in school from grades 9 to 12 report having used drugs at some point. One in two believe that it isn’t risky to experiment with heroin, crack or cocaine. Two in three teens believe that abusing prescription opioids for a high is safer than abusing street drugs (these medications and up killing more teens than cocaine and heroin together). Mental performance-enhancing drugs such as Adderall see considerable abuse among high school seniors (who use them to ace exams). Whether you’re familiar with these statistics or not, the question on your mind at this point is likely to be this: how can we prevent drug abuse among teens?
The harm in drug use among teens
Drug use isn’t the same at every age level. There is research that proves that substance abuse causes greater damage the earlier it begins — the euphoria that drugs produce comes with permanent brain damage. It is also important to remember that the longer a drug habit remains, the harder it becomes to escape from the resultant addiction. Remaining alert to everything that goes on in your teen’s life is critical — the earlier you become aware of a risky tendency, the better.
Talk about drug abuse
Talking about drug abuse is supposed to be a two-way street, not a lecture: it’s important to understand that kids have minds and thoughts of their own. A lecture rarely goes over well, simply because it doesn’t usually address the thoughts and questions in the mind of a kid.
It’s important to read as much as you can about addiction, gain rich, scientifically valid knowledge of what addiction is, and then head into the conversation. It doesn’t help to simply use scary statistics — you need to bring up interesting, in-depth ideas, discuss them, listen for directions that your kid may want to go with the conversation, and answer their questions.
When you discuss the subject, listen for clues for where their ideas and opinions about drugs come from — it could be from a TV show, from a cool peer who uses, or from even your own use. Learn about where your kid gets his information, and directly address those.
It’s important to make sure that you never attempt to assign blame. Instead, you should aim for a calm and respectful discussion. This is how to prevent drug abuse in school or elsewhere.
Make sure that it isn’t a one-time talk
People rarely retain information gained over one conversation. It can be very hard for you to deliver all the information that you need to give your child over one session, as well.
It is much better idea to have several five-minute conversations over an extended period of time. You may occasionally repeat things that you’ve said for extra emphasis. It may also be an idea to discuss your own drug use at one point, to discuss the habits of friends at another sitting, and so on. Questions that come up when watching a movie that involves drug use may be the subject of a third sitting.
Through all of this, it’s important to make sure that you let your kid talk more than you do. It’s the only way they can make sure they are involved, and your message is actually getting through.
Be accessible and approachable
Being a friendly parent who is always available when there is a question, can be a great way to make sure that your kid does come to you when there is a problem. Accessibility is one of the best ways of how we can prevent drug abuse among our teens.
Finally, it’s important to understand that should substance abuse begin for a lead to addiction, that you should help your kid turn to treatment as quickly as possible. Talking to an expert at WhiteSands Treatment today at (877) 855-3470.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.