Examining its Current State and Methods of Preventing Teenage Drug Abuse
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 11.2 percent of illegal drug use starts when a person is between the ages of 16 and 17. Another 8 percent start abusing drugs between the ages of 14 and 15. These statistics tell a parent that most young people start abusing illegal drugs in their teenage years. Unfortunately, this abuse can lead to harmful health effects, addiction, and potentially death due to overdose. Parents can play a significant role in preventing teenage drug abuse. There are also programs available that have been shown to reduce the incidence of teenage drug abuse. Through taking steps for teen drug abuse prevention, teenagers can ultimately live healthier lives free from the drug abuse.
Statistics show that teen drug abuse prevention is taking great steps forward. According to the NIDA, use of illicit drugs among teenagers is declining. An estimated 23.6 percent of teenagers reported using an illicit drug in the past month, with 16 percent of these being marijuana. The remaining report using other illicit drugs, such as heroin, MDMA, and misuse of prescription medications, such as Adderall and opiates.
Parents Tips for Drug Abuse Prevention
Preventing teenage drug abuse starts by establishing a rapport and conversation with a teenager. Parents should set aside some dedicated time to talk with a teenager one-on-one without the influences of television or telephones. The parent can emphasize the desire to have a conversation, not a lecture, on drug use and abuse. Some of the topics discussed could include:
- Talking to a teenager about their views on drug use and abuse. A parent can answer any questions a teenager has about drugs that the parent feels comfortable answering.
- Talking to a teenager about media messages and if a teenager feels like drug use is glamorous or glamorized in the media.
- Discussing with a teenager the ramifications and potential legal problems that can stem from drug use.
- Identifying with a teenager responses and ways to resist peer pressure. Some parents will establish a secret “code” with a teenager the teen can text or say in conversation that indicates to the parent they need help.
Parents should be prepared that their teen may ask them about their personal drug abuse history. While parents can determine what is best to disclose, being as open and honest as possible can go a long way in preventing teenage drug abuse.
Risk Factors for Teen Drug Abuse
Many experts giving parents tips for drug abuse prevention offer advice that includes identifying possible risk factors for drug abuse. Some parents may not think their teen is at risk for drug use and abuse when the opposite is true. According to the Mayo Clinic, risk factors for drug abuse include:
- Family history of drug and/or alcohol abuse
- History of a mental or behavioral health condition, such as anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or depression
- History of impulsive behavior
- History of experiencing a traumatic event, such as after a car accident, natural disaster, or abuse
- History of low self-esteem or feelings of social rejection
If a teen has one or more of these risk factors, a person may need to practice or engage in additional teen drug abuse prevention measures, such as enrolling a teen in educational sessions or counseling.
Outlook on Prevention Teenage Drug Abuse
According to the NIDA, early drug abuse, such as when a person is in the teenage years, increase the risk for a person to become addicted to drugs and/or alcohol over their lifetime. Researchers know that a person’s risk for abusing drugs is increased at times of transition. This includes the time of transition from an teenager to an adult. The teenage years are also when a young person is often exposed to temptations of cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, and engaging in drug abuse. Preventing teenage drug abuse often involves preparing an adolescent for the temptations they may face as they enter their teenage years.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.