Many parents dread their child’s teenage years. These are the times when their children will change and grow up and be faced with all sorts of temptations. One of the biggest challenges teens face is avoiding drugs and alcohol. While many teens are able to keep from abusing drugs and alcohol, nearly every teen will be invited or pressured to try these substances sometime during their high school years. It is important that our young adults are prepared for these moments and know what to do to stay clean.
Parents are encouraged to know what their children are doing and have conversations with their kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Science has recently shown that this should be a top priority for parents who are raising pre-teens and teenagers.
Consequences of Kids Abusing Drugs
Some people are under the impression that all kids will try drugs sometime during their teen years. They believe that substance abuse is a rite of passage and that a little bit of experimenting never hurt anyone. However, countless studies done on the impact of teen drug abuse make a different conclusion. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University published one such study that gives a warning to those who dismiss teen drug abuse as harmless.
Jim Ramstad of CASA said, “We no longer can justify writing off adolescent substance use as bad behavior, as a rite of passage or as kids just being kids. The science is too clear, the facts are too compelling, the health and social consequences are too devastating and the costs are simply too high.”
The CASA study concluded that people that use substances before the age of 18 are more likely to have an addiction problem as an adult. In fact, 90% of adults with an addiction problem started using before they were 18. One of the reasons teen drug abuse is so harmful is that adolescents’ brains are still developing, and subjecting them to a dangerous substance has a greater impact on young brains. Substance abuse interferes with the brain’s capacity for good judgment and impulse control, increasing the risk for addictive behavior in the future. Researchers stress that it is important to keep young people from experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
Keeping Teens Sober
Parents should make it a priority to talk to their kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Parents should know what their children are doing and who they are spending time with, and be a positive influence themselves to help their child develop healthy behaviors. Any parent who suspects their child is involved with substance abuse is encouraged to get help for their child right away.