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How Can Parents Help Prevent Substance Abuse Problems for their Adolescents?


parent and adolescent

As emphasized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people are more likely to begin abusing drugs during adolescence and adulthood; by senior year in high school, studies have shown that 70% of teens will have tried alcohol, 50% will have taken an illegal drug, 40% will have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20% will have used a prescription drug for non-medical purposes. What does this mean? As a parent, your supervision, guidance, and influence weigh heavily on your adolescent’s journey with substances. Many adolescents experience risk-taking and thrill-seeking merely because their brains are hardwired for new experiences – unfortunately, however, these risks can come at a hefty price when substance abuse leads to dependency, addiction, overdose, and even death.

Many factors have been shown to have influence on youngsters in obtaining and using substances. These factors include: availability of substances, family environment (physical, mental, or emotional abuse), drug use in the household, mental health conditions, personality traits, and more. As a parent, the way you interact with your child and the behaviors you set forth as an example can greatly influence their perceptions on substance use.

A 2017 study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota sought to explore the impact of parent involvement on adolescent substance use; results from the study indicated that increasing early parental involvement and expectations can “alter life-course outcomes by providing children with a foundation for positive behaviors and encouraging adaptive functioning in adolescence.” Become more involved in your child’s life by placing emphasis on open communication and trust; speak with your child’s teachers at school to receive helpful insights to your child’s behavior, and tell them early on your expectations surrounding substance abuse.

Model for your children what you would like for them to do with their lives – if you need to take medication for something, show them what it means to take medication exactly as prescribed, and for no other reason. Express to them the importance of monitoring side effects and continuing frequent check-ups with a doctor. If you or your child are struggling with substance abuse, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today to learn more about programs that can best suit your needs.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.