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Why Your Child Needs You to Talk to Them About Drug Use Today

As of 2013, over 20 percent of high school seniors used drugs at least once a month, while ten percent of eighth graders use drugs just as often. These are disturbing numbers, and as a result, 12 percent of all inpatient addiction recovery program patients were between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. Whether or not you think your child is using drugs, keep reading. Not only is it your responsibility, but it could literally save your child’s life.

Teen
Image: flickr.com/photos/anita__greg

Some facts that you should know

According to the latest data from the National Institute of Health, the following facts about drug use are alarming:

  • Nonmedical use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines remains a significant part of the teen drug problem
  • Prescription drugs, such as Ritalin, Adderal, Oxycontin and tranquilizers are some of the most widely abused
  • Synthetic marijuana (aka “spice”) is second to “natural” marijuana in frequency of use, and is available at gas stations and on the internet. It can cause serious poisoning symptoms, and heart attacks
  • Fewer children smoke cigarettes than marijuana
  • 60% of teens report that drugs are sold on their school grounds
  • Over 60 percent of teens have used prescription drugs to get high, and obtained them from friends or family members
  • By eight grade, 30 percent of children have tried alcohol
  • Children whose parents talk to them about the implications of drug and alcohol abuse on a regular basis decrease their child’s risk for future drug use by over 40 percent!
  • Less than one-third of children report that their parents talk to them about drug use!

Think for a moment about those last two points. Only a quarter of parents talk to their children about the dangers of drug abuse, but that group of children’s risk for future drug use decreases by almost half! Think about what that means large-scale. If all parents would take the simple steps towards communicating about drug abuse with their children, the effects on the statistics above would be staggering!

What can increase your child’s risk?

  • Family History: If family members close to the teen are alcohol or drug abusers, the risk of that teen having addiction problems increases significantly.
  • Access: Easy access to drugs and alcohol acts to entice and enable a teen in their curiosity about drug use. Usually, a friend or classmate is the first to introduce them to experimentation with drugs, so it’s always good to know your child’s friends.
  • Mental Health Problems: A teen with a diagnosis of a mental health disorder has an increased risk of early drug use. This includes ADHD, bipolar disorder, conduct disorders and depression to name a few.
  • Self Esteem: The teen years are tough, and many children suffer from low self-worth and turn to drug use to help “fit in” as well as to make their problems disappear.

Many parents don’t approach the topic with their child because they feel that their teen is “good” or not at risk. Others are uncomfortable with addressing drug use in fear that they will not say the right things, or “plant a seed”. Below you will find some tips on how to talk to your teen with confidence.

  • Ask your child how they feel about drug use. Find out what they know about the risks and negative consequences, and use their responses as cues to answer any questions they might have.
  • Be up front with them about your past, if it includes drug or alcohol abuse. They’ll likely want to know, and they’re old enough to hear honest answers.
  • Let them know that peer pressure is a real thing, and that they don’t need to succumb to it-for any reason.

If you are looking to help your child keep from or to get off drugs, your biggest ally is knowledge. Help them understand what they can do to them and their relationships. If it is needed there is top drug rehab outpatient programs out there that you can take advantage of. As long as you make it a point for them to know that you love them, that will be a big part.

Sources:
 http://www.drugabuse.gov, 
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/alcoholdrug/, 
http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/substance-abuse/home.html, 
http://www.teendrugrehabs.com/facts-and-stats/

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