The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health reports that kids in New Jersey are using alcohol and drugs. Teen substance abuse NJ is important. It starts between the ages of 12 and 17.
Many parents came to New Jersey to escape the city and raise their children in a more family-friendly environment. Therefore, they find the result of these recent studies alarming.
Teens and Parental Support
What can you do to help your teen avoid the pitfalls of drug and alcohol abuse? Talk to them, early and often, about the importance of avoiding drugs and alcohol. Be a positive example and avoid overindulging yourself. And if you find that your child has chosen to experiment, do not view it as a passing phase. Instead, take notice and take action. Furthermore, get your teen the professional help they need to break free from substance use disorder.
Early Intervention Is Best for Teens
It’s imperative that parents who identify a drug or alcohol use issue in their child take immediate action. Study after study shows that waiting to address the problem is the worst possible idea. Research has also demonstrated the following data about teen drug use.
- Teens who indulged in drug and alcohol abuse during high school were more likely to experience irreversible damage to their cognitive and emotional development during the crucial growth period of adolescence.
- Girls in high school who drink and use drugs are more likely to become victims of rape, other sexual assault, and/or physical attack.
- Boys in high school who drink or use drugs are more likely to commit other crimes, including theft and/or violent crimes.
- Rates of teen pregnancy and STDs increase among teen populations that abuse substances.
- Teens who abuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to have academic difficulties, to drop out of high school, and/or to never complete college.
Drugs of Abuse Among New Jersey Teens
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the following trends in drug and alcohol abuse among teens in New Jersey.
- About 14 percent of NJ teens reported taking their first alcoholic drink before the age of 13. Early drinking age has been connected to higher rates of substance abuse and addiction in adult years as well as higher rates of negative consequences as a result of chronic drug abuse and binge drinking.
- Approximately 24 percent of high school-aged kids in New Jersey reported behaviors that define binge drinking (e.g., five drinks or more for boys and four drinks or more for girls) in the past month. About 43 percent of high schoolers in NJ said they had at least one alcoholic beverage in the last 30 days. Both of these numbers are higher than the national average.
- Six percent of NJ kids surveyed reported driving a vehicle after drinking alcohol, while another 21 percent said they got in the car with someone who had been drinking.
- About 37 percent of New Jersey teenagers said that they had tried marijuana.
- Ten percent of NJ high schoolers said they had “huffed” or used inhalants to get high (e.g., breathed the fumes from chemical solvents or substances) one or more times.
- Five percent of New Jersey teens surveyed reported the use of prescription painkillers – without a prescription.
The Dangers of Binge Drinking
Unfortunately, too many parents in New Jersey view teen drinking as a rite of passage. Some parents even allow their children to drink at home under supervision. Why? They believe they will be better able to better protect their teen from the dangers associated with alcohol use like drinking and driving.
In fact, parent-approved teen drinking can result in
- A belief that drinking is safe in any amount, causing teens to overindulge to the point of medical emergency
- The belief that alcohol is so safe that it is okay to mix it with other substances, a practice that can cause overdose
- Breaking house rules, like curfew and drinking outside of the home, away from parental supervision
- Legal prosecution of parents, sometimes in cases where accident or injury results from teen drinking in an adult’s home
- Loss of respect for parental authority, especially if the parent drinks with them and their friends
- Larger amounts of alcohol ingested, which can increase health problems
The risks of teen drinking in any venue are far too great. Instead, parents parents need to set a positive example and help underage kids avoid alcohol ingestion.
The Importance of Teen-Focused Treatment
Many people mistakenly believe that all rehab programs are alike. But, in truth, a spectrum of choices exists. The differences between teen treatment programs and adult rehab are significant. Simply put, programs designed for adults over the age of 18 are not appropriate for those between the ages of 12 and 17. There is a different depth and breadth of experience among adult patients. Their stories are potentially damaging to teens who are struggling.
By comparison, teen rehabilitation centers like Newport Academy offer teens the access they need to
- Address any physical ailments associated with or caused by drug and alcohol abuse as well as co-occurring medical disorders
- Treat underlying mental health issues; teen depression and teen anxiety are common. Also, disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder frequently manifest during the teen years
- Catch up on academics; staff members can work with teachers directly to create an individualized education program to help teens catch up in areas of deficiency and potentially get back to grade level and prepare to move forward.
- Build confidence and self-esteem through a wide range of therapies that can include CBT, DBT, Adventure Therapy, yoga, and animal-assisted therapies
- Work with parents and guardians to rebuild relationships and learn how to interact and communicate in the future
The Importance of Family Involvement in Teen Healing
Teenagers who have the active support and care of parents and family members have a higher chance of a successful recovery. Therefore, parents need to be closely involved in the ongoing treatment of their child and take advantage of a wide range of therapeutic and educational support options, including the following.
- Family support groups. Meeting regularly with other families of teens who struggle with drugs and alcohol helps parents recognize that they are not alone. Moreover, support groups provide parents with the opportunity to learn from the mistakes and successes of others.
- Family therapy. Therapy sessions for parents and teens, as well as other family members as appropriate, can provide a safe forum to address the issues that may have led up to the drug abuse, as well as anything that occurred during the course of addiction. Additionally, family therapy can provide a place for all participants to learn how best to communicate healthfully and get needs met without manipulation or enabling addiction.
- Personal therapy. Dealing with teen mental health struggles on a personal level can be tough. It is hugely beneficial for parents to address their own anger, frustrations, fears, and sadness.
Does Your Child Need Teen Rehab?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2012 State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders from the 2009-2010 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, about 4 percent of New Jersey teens between the ages of 12 and 17 who needed addiction treatment and intervention in order to put drugs and alcohol behind them did not receive the care they required.
Contact us at Newport Academy to find out more about our comprehensive, evidence-based treatment program designed to meet the specific needs of teenagers. Call today.