When it comes to teen drug addiction, prevention usually comes in the form of talking to teenagers about the dangers and health issues that result when drugs are an issue. The risks of drug addiction, drug overdose, teen pregnancy, and disease through unprotected sex, as well as death due to accident or negligent behavior, are the primary focus at high schools, teen centers, and other anti-drug venues.
While this has had an effect on the perception of drug and alcohol danger, it has only marginally decreased the incidents of use and possession of drugs among teens. Perhaps another approach to disseminating information about the risks associated with drug abuse and addiction is to educate parents and caregivers.
Drug Addiction Education: Never Assume
There are a few assumptions that we, as a community, tend to work under. One is that parents are knowledgeable about the dangers facing their children. It is assumed that parents are functional themselves and if there were any drug use in the home, it would have been figured out long before the kids reached high school.
Unfortunately, children are often more knowledgeable than their parents about drugs and alcohol, their availability, use, and the risks of addiction. While arming teenagers with the information they need to protect themselves, it is helpful for those who are still straddling the fence to have parents at home who can reinforce what they’re learning at school.
Parental Drug Addiction Education Tactics
There are a number of different ways to get the information to parents that they need to protect their kids. Sending home flyers with the kids or emailing them directly to parents may be helpful. Including short informational sessions for parents at school events such as school plays, band or choral concerts, can be beneficial as well. Back-to-School Nights at the beginning of the year for parents can include a short segment on drug problems, drug addiction, what to look for, and how to help your child.
What Parents Need to Know About Teen Drug Addiction
There is quite a bit of information that parents need to know about teen drug addiction in order to best help their children stand strong against drug abuse. These include:
- The mechanisms of peer pressure and specific things kids can say to stand up to it
- What drugs look like so that they will know it when they see it
- Slang terms for drugs and getting high so that they will know when their children are talking about it
- The signs and symptoms of specific drugs of addiction so that you know what drugs to look for
- Drugs that are prevalent in that particular region
- Locations of local drug trade, such as where people go to buy different drugs so that parents can make sure their children don’t frequent these places
Increasing the communication between parents and teenagers starts with a conversation in which both sides are knowledgeable. Giving parents the same – and more – information to talk intelligently to their children can help them know the signs, know what to look and listen for and help their kids avoid dangerous places.