Why Parents are the Start of Drug Abuse Prevention

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It may be surprising for you to hear, but when it comes to children, teenagers and young adults taking drugs, parents are one of the most powerful influences around. It’s so important for parents to be involved in the lives of their children, especially when it comes to processes like drug prevention.

However, without parents being educated in what drugs are and what they can do, it’s practically impossible to educate the child, and this is where serious problems can start to form. With parents educated in what drugs are and the effects of them, clear boundaries can be set, and children can be protected from the dangers.

Today, we’re going to explore this topic in much more detail, helping to share information about how parents can influence their child’s decisions when it comes to drugs, and the statistics revolving around this fairly taboo subject.

Here are the Facts

First, let’s start off with some recent stats, so we’re all on the same page.

Around 45% of people who start drinking under the age of 14, or at least try alcohol, are bound to be dependent on alcohol at some point in their lives. In comparison, only 10% of people who wait until they’re 21 will become dependent.

According to one US study, over 2,000 teenagers in the United States try getting high for the first time in their lives using prescription drugs every single day. If equates to there being just as many 12 to 17-year-olds trying prescription drugs as they are trying marijuana.

Other statistics show that people over 90% of people with substance problems at any age of their life started smoking, drinking or using other drugs before the age of 18. 

“These statistics alone just go to show how important it is that parents are aware of the dangers of drug and substance consumption when it comes to their children, and how important it is to stay educated and pass this information on,” shares Jack Harper, a health writer for Let’s Go And Learn and Via Writing.

Are My Children Using Substances or Drugs?

The first thing you’re going to want to figure out as a responsible parent is whether your child is already using substances or drugs. Of course, the first thing you’re going to need to do is to ask them in a responsible and open way.

It’s important to make sure you’re open and honest and make it clear your child isn’t going to get into trouble. Help is far more important than punishment. However, it’s entirely possible your child will still lie, so here are some things to look for that can indicate substance use;

  • Alcohol missing from your house or cabinet
  • Possession of a fake ID
  • Cigarette papers (roach/rolled cardboard)
  • Stash tins or cans
  • Prescription drug packaging
  • Room deodorizers or incense to mask smells

You may also want to look out for changes in your child’s appearance and attitude. This can include a messier appearance, red eyes, pale skin, frequent illness, depression, dishonesty and other traits associated with drug taking. 

“Pay attention to your child’s habits, attitudes, and perspective towards life and you’ll soon be able to tell whether they’re taking drugs or not,” explains Nina Williams, an educator for Simple Grad and My Writing Way.

HELP! My Child’s on Drugs!

If you get to a point where you discover your child is taking drugs, the important thing to remember is not to freak out and remain calm. Remember, the chances are that your child is not doing it for malicious reasons, and it was probably a case of incidental peer pressure, wanting to look ‘cool,’ or simply out of curiosity.

This, to a certain extent, is fine and more often than not, smoking a bit of marijuana or consuming alcohol the once will not have long-term health effects. However, there are more dangerous substances out there that can be fatal, and it’s important to encourage your child to steer away from these substances to prevent long-term abuse. So you need to do research on these substances so you could know the variety of it out there.

“The most important thing you’ll need to do here is to talk to your child. Have an open and honest conversation about what drugs are and what they can do. Your child may have questions, and it’s important to be supportive of what they have to say and ask,” says Melinda Swans, a college counsellor and tutor at Study Demic and Academ Advisor, educational websites.

If you don’t know the answers, seek professional opinions or look online for accurate information. E sure to plan all the points you want to tackle before starting the conversation, and don’t go for scare tactics, just be honest, loving and supportive.

This post was written by Grace Carter, an educator, mom and health blogger.

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