Studies show that illicit drug use among teenagers is on the rise. From 2012 to 2013, the number of teens who abused some form of narcotic, stimulant, depressant or other drug climbed from 9.3% to 10%, which might seem slight, but it shows that kids are continuing to experiment. Of course, kids will be kids, right?
Wrong. Drug and alcohol addiction in teenagers is serious, especially given how chemical abuse can disrupt the normal rate of growth and development in young people. There are long-term psychological as well as physical consequences to drug abuse in teens, and one of the best ways to get help for drug addiction is to open up the lines of communication between child and parent. But that doesn’t always work, of course.
So, what can be done? Luckily, not every situation has to be dealt with via teen rehab. The most important thing you can do for your children, your own flesh and blood, is maintain an open and honest relationship with them as best you can. Plus, the more actionable steps you take toward helping prevent drug and alcohol abuse, the better. It all starts with…
Putting away the pills
Take a look at the numbers and you’ll see that prescription drug abuse among teens is staggering. Currently, over two million teens in the United States are abusing pills, and very often they’re the same pills that can be found right in your medicine cabinet. Always take protective measures to ensure these highly dangerous substances don’t fall into the wrong hands. It’s a lot harder to get help for drug addiction than to simply avoid the addictions altogether.
Being positive role models
Teens are highly impressionable, and telling them not to abuse alcohol or prescription pills is empty advice if you, as parents, don’t abide by the same rules. Plenty of teenagers love to argue, but there’s no arguing with logic. Set limits for yourself as well as for your teens, and stick to them. Hypocrisy is the worst chink in the armor for building up a system of good parenting, so ensure everything you do is reflective of the lessons you’re trying to impart to them.
Keeping communication as open as possible
One of the biggest reasons teens abuse drugs or alcohol is because these illicit substances are often very forcefully railed against by parents and teachers. Such constant villainization can lead to society viewing drugs altogether as “taboo.” Teens love taboo. It’s important to be frank with your children and view them as adults, too, as counter to your initial parenting instincts as this might seem. With more open lines of communication, teens get the message that these matters are completely OK to talk about, which they should be.
Getting help when it’s needed
At some point, you may be forced to accept that your teen is simply beyond any kind of help you can offer him or her. That’s when it’s time to start looking into proper drug addiction treatment centers that can provide the help that’s desperately needed. There are plenty of drug rehab facilities out there that do more than just help teens quit, too — there’s group therapy, yoga therapy, music therapy, even family therapy. With all these options of help for drug addiction, and it can significantly benefit a teen to invest his or her time in making the right choices.