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Preventing Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Teenage girl

Parents often underestimate the power they have to keep their kids off drugs and alcohol. In fact, there is no more powerful preventative than an involved parent. Following are a few tips for how you can keep an open relationship with your son or daughter, and keep them from doing serious, potentially deadly, harm to themselves.

  • Keep an open line of communication. This means talk to your child—and listen. Make it clear to your child that drug and alcohol use is not allowed!
  • Know the whereabouts of your teen. Make sure you always know where your teen is and what he/she is doing. If the information is not volunteered, ASK! Children and teens who do not have adult supervision are far more likely to be involved in drugs, alcohol, and other risky behavior.
  • Get to know your teen's friends, and help your teen learn to choose friends wisely. Almost always, kids are introduced to drugs and alcohol use through their friends.
  • Educate yourself. Get to know the dangers of drugs and the popular drugs out on the market today (i.e., Ecstasy, etc.) as well as the signs and paraphernalia associated with drug use. You can have a much more credible conversation with your child if you know the dangerous effects of these drugs.
  • Learn the signs of drug use, and be vigilant. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your teen, it is time to have a talk. Although these items can be indicative of other conditions, often these are warning signs that a person is using/abusing drugs and/or alcohol:
    • Change in friends
    • Sleeping more/less
    • Lack of interest in hobbies or other favorite activities
    • Hostility or otherwise negative attitude, even violent behavior
    • Declining grades