Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention By The Bluffs
Teen Drug And Alcohol Abuse Prevention
Over one million adolescents in the United States were living with a substance use disorder in 2016. Teens are especially susceptible to substance abuse because they are in a fragile, vulnerable time in their lives. Some people who abuse drugs or alcohol during their teenage are fortunate and won’t abuse substances past the teen years. For others, adolescent substance abuse sets the stage for a lifelong battle with addiction.
The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) examined substance use patterns in adolescents aged 12 to 17. It found that more than eight percent of teens in the U.S. used illicit drugs and almost four percent abused prescription painkillers. In addition, more than nine percent of teens consumed alcohol and five percent participated in binge drinking.
This is a problem not only for the teens that suffer from addiction, but also for their families, schools, and communities. Many organizations and community groups across the U.S. work to prevent teen drug and alcohol abuse. Prevention is often less difficult, less expensive, and less painful than treating addiction.
Teen Substance Abuse Risk Factors
The human brain is not fully developed until the mid-20s. Teens do not think like adults; they are more emotionally-driven. They can be easily swayed by peer pressure and do not always realize the long-term consequences of their behavior.
Teenagers are particularly vulnerable when they go through transitions, such as moving from middle school to high school. This puts them in an unfamiliar environment and also introduces them to unfamiliar people, like older kids who already experiment with drugs and alcohol. Not all teenagers turn to substance abuse—some are more vulnerable to it.
Risk factors that lead some teens to abuse drugs and alcohol may include:
craving for social acceptance: causes them to give in to peer pressure
social awkwardness: leads them to use drugs or alcohol to lower their inhibitions
lack of coping skills: inability to deal with stress in a healthy way
strained relationship with their parents: lack of support, communication, or guidance
poor academic performance: some drugs increase concentration or reduce anxiety
poor role model: someone they look up to who abuses drugs or alcohol
Teen Drug And Alcohol Abuse Prevention
Most of the issues leading to teen substance abuse can be avoided or remedied. The influential adults in a teen’s life play an important role in leading them toward or away from drugs and alcohol. Most adolescents have a close relationship with a parent, relative, teacher, or other adult role model.
Here are some ways these adults can help prevent teen drug and alcohol abuse:
Open discussion: Having someone who will listen without judgment may give a teen the relief they need from an emotional situation.
Bonding: If a teen has a good relationship with a trusted adult, they may come to that person with problems, rather than turning to a peer who may suggest they try drugs or alcohol.
Consistent discipline: Parents who create a structured home environment teach their teens to set boundaries and recognize that their choices have consequences.
Involvement in their life: Knowing what the teen is doing and who they are with allows a caring adult to help them recognize unhealthy situations and relationships.
Being a positive role model: Teens who have a responsible adult to show them how to live a healthy life without abusing drugs and alcohol are equipped to make better choices.
There are many teen drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs implemented in schools and communities across the country. Some of them target parents to help them improve parenting skills and communication with their children. Others work with children from elementary school onward to build their self-esteem, teach life skills, social skills, and positive decision-making.
Warning Signs Of Teen Substance Abuse
If a teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, their behavior may noticeably change. They may become more secretive and start spending more time away from home, possibly with a new group of friends. They may be more inclined to break rules and experience trouble at school or work.
As the problem escalates, there could be serious consequences. A teen may get into an accident while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, harming themselves or others. They may engage in activity that they wouldn’t otherwise consider, like dealing drugs or having unprotected sex.
Many people who abuse drugs or alcohol develop an addiction, and adolescents are no exception. If a teen is suffering from addiction, they will continue to use drugs or alcohol despite distinct negative consequences to their life and health.
What To Do If A Teen Is Struggling With Addiction
It may be too late to prevent a teen from using drugs or alcohol, but it’s never too late to prevent them from continuing to do so. If a teen is already struggling with substance abuse, the compassionate adults in their life can still make a difference.
The most important thing is to have open and honest communication. Discussing reasons not to use drugs or alcohol may be helpful if the topic is approached in a loving, nonjudgmental way. Teaching the teen how to say “no” and stand firm in their decision could also prevent further substance use.
Developing a positive relationship with the teen and being involved in their life may be just as effective for helping them overcome substance abuse as it is for prevention. The goal is to help the teen realize that they could live a healthier life and do many things they want to do without drugs and alcohol.
If the teen has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, it may not be enough for an adult to simply be there for them. Addiction is a mental disease caused by brain changes that make it challenging to overcome without professional help.
Treatment For Teen Drug And Alcohol Addiction
The best drug and alcohol rehab programs for adolescents address the unique issues that cause teens to misuse drugs or alcohol. These programs are tailored to individual needs and implement a variety of evidence-based therapies. Counseling and behavioral therapy are especially effective in helping teens change their thoughts and behavior.
Teens may benefit most from an inpatient addiction treatment program that provides a supportive environment away from negative influences. Without the stress of peer pressure, teens can focus on their recovery, and learn to make positive choices that will lead them to healthier lives.
We provide comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment for individuals struggling with addiction and mental illness. Specializing in addiction treatment that is tailored to individual needs. Our facility offers a unique blend of recovery and comfort in a healing environment.
Mayo Clinic — Teen drug abuse: help your teen avoid drugs
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents…