Protecting Kids From Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Children are often exposed to the temptation to try drugs and alcohol long before parents suspect. Sometimes at the age of 10 or 11, or even younger, kids are experimenting with drinking. The fact of the matter is that parents often have their “heads in the sand” when it comes to their precious children using drugs and alcohol. By the time we find out, it can be too late.

Some possible clues early on:

Lower than normal grades
Rebellious behavior
A new friend or friends (especially when their time is being totally monopolized)
Depression or other behavior problems

Steps to take before children get to the age of temptation:

Develop good self esteem in your child (building self confidence)
Get involved in your kids’ lives
Establish basic rules early
Develop a stable home life as much as possible and teach good coping skills which helps to prevent stress and anxiety
Give them a good focus for their life, such as the church or sports, or career goals
Develop an interest or passion for something healthy, such as music or collecting, or animals
Set good examples when they are little, such as “no drugs or alcohol in the home”
Make a “no drugs policy” perfectly clear to them as soon as it’s appropriate

If you suspect your children are experimenting:

Set up deterrents for breaking the family rules, such as drug testing, drug screening or a breathalyzer test (alcohol test) after going out with their friends or when they particularly want to be trusted
Impose punishments which fit the “crime”
Try some volunteer work at a homeless shelter or drug rehabilitation center to give them a different perspective on life
Visit someone in prison
Try diverting their attention to a new interest or passion (away from the problem)
Reward good behavior

If you know they are doing drugs or abusing alcohol:

Counseling with a mental health professional may help
Take them to AA meetings or similar (go with them)
Drug rehabilitation if the problem is further along
Make a regular date (suggest weekly or more often) with them for a “one on one” meeting to talk about what’s going on in their life (a dinner out works well, but you can do this at home also)
If possible, sometimes changing schools or moving to another address can be helpful

From my life:

I know these things from experience, as I was one of those parents with “my head in the sand”. I had no idea what was happening to my daughter at school everyday. I really thought she was still a “little girl”. It started in middle school when she was about 12. She was 14 when she overdosed on alcohol at a party. This was a party where parents were present and in the next room! Her friends brought her home and deposited her on the front doorstep. She was limp. I was shocked. We called an ambulance and she went to emergency. There she tested positive for marijuana, meth, barbiturates and heroin! We were fortunate, she eventually recovered. After that we tried a lot of different things including extensive drug counseling, therapy, threats, meetings, punishment. I set up a regular weekly dinner out for just the two of us. At first she fought me about going. For weeks she sat there and said nothing. Slowly she began to open up about things in her life a little at a time and eventually she told me she looked forward to our dinners out. What worked better than anything as a deterrent, was buying a breathalyzer. If I had known this would work so well, I would have bought it first thing. We also tried some drug tests, but getting the results in a week or even a few days is too long. Now the drug tests work faster and don’t usually have to be sent into a lab. The breathalyzer results were immediate and she knew it was there waiting for her to try when she came home! It’s also affordable and easy to use. I would recommend it to any parent of a teenager who suspects alcohol abuse.

Just as a followup, my daughter is 20 now. She’s fully recovered. It wasn’t easy. I was very persistent and I prayed a lot. She has her own successful business now and is doing well.

Teenage Drinking – How Many Teenagers Die From Alcohol Abuse Each Year?

Teenage drinking becomes the youth’s means of leisure’s, especially those who are studying. Even high school students are already used to drinking, during break time, week ends or the so called “Saturday night fever”. This usually happens when peer groups join together, go bar hopping or simply in small bars just to while away the time.

What causes teenage drinking?

The life of a teenager is a period of mixed emotions, thoughts, and adjustment. This is the period where they starts to join groups and pressured by their peers.

And this is the period which is considered difficult to handle by their parents. A rebellious stage for teenagers that makes it hard to understand what they want from their lives.

Sometimes, teenager drinks because they always see their parents drinks. Over a period of time, parents drinking have a great effect on the teenage mind, resulting to drinking as a way to escape reality.

Other cause of teenage drinking is due to love problem. Often times when they faced a relationship problem, they resort to drinking to forget the temporary break up or worries that their relationship would end.

With the increase in teenage drinking, every day there are almost death due to vehicular accidents and this will continue if left unchecked by parents.

Study shows that drinking related death toll each year rose to 5000 and about one fourth of these accidents are due to drunkenness. In 2005 alone, 12 teens ages 16 – 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries and more than 1,700 college students, between the ages of 18 – 24, get injured due to direct result of alcohol abuse.

According the NHTSA report, 31 percent of teen drivers killed in 2006 had been caused by drinking alcohol and 25 percent had a blood alcohol concentration of.08 or higher.

Additionally, every two hours a teenager dies from an alcohol related accident – an alarming situation.

There should be something that needs to be done by the government, the school, parents and the community as a whole to curve this teenage drinking habit.

Suggested measures to control teenage drinking habit

Education. It’s the duty of all involves especially parents and the school to teach the kids at an early age. One-on-one counseling by parents to the kids are critical to the well-being of their future. They should be given the right advice not to deal a single shot with alcohol because it’s dangerous to get used to it.

Teens should be given more attention in their early stage and parents are the main actors for their safety and security. They should coordinate with school authorities, communities and other core groups responsible for teens welfare.

A well coordinated efforts by these group of authorities focusing towards the teenagers future could form a solid plan that would be used as a guide to make the future of these teenagers more productive and useful to the society.

Early Signs Of Alcohol Abuse

It is far easier to prevent drug and alcohol addiction than it is to recover from it. Parents who wish to prevent drug abuse in their children can watch for a number of telltale signs, particularly in the case of alcohol, which can be a gateway drug. It could be the difference between a life of success, or a lifetime battle with drug addiction.

The Signs

A number of studies show that alcoholics often have four personality traits in common before turning to abuse. These are:

• Anxiety, which can lead to drug use as the user tries to numb his feelings when he doesn’t know what to do about the problem. This can include stresses at home, social nervousness, anxiety about exams, and academic difficulties. A number of studies show that students who have trouble in school are far more likely to turn to drug abuse. With children all over America swimming in confusion and googling topics like “School makes me depressed” or “School makes me suicidal”, it’s no wonder that drug abuse among teens is at an all-time high.

• Impulsivity, meaning swayed or compelled by emotional or involuntary impulses. A number of studies show the relationship between impulsivity and drug addiction, as users often lack the discipline or logical thinking required to quit. Teens who are more emotion-driven may turn to drugs more easily than those who don’t.

• Negative thinking can be a factor in drug abuse and addiction, as drugs seem to present an easy way out. Drugs and alcohol provide temporary escape from depression, suicidal thoughts, and other emotional troubles.

• Sensation seeking, which can lead teens and young adults to reach for the rush of a drug or alcohol high, and to experiment with other substances like synthetic drugs or hallucinogens.

Anti-Drug Marketing

Researchers are hoping to incorporate their findings into anti-drug marketing. A number of addicts claim that the prevalent school campaigns like “Say No to Drugs” often came across as a joke. No one tried to get to the root of the problem, to find out what made kids turn to drugs in the first place.

Education And Prevention Efforts

Many drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs offer educational materials and seminars to arm teens against peer pressure and the influence of drugs and alcohol in their environment. Statistics show that kids who are fully educated in the effects of drugs and alcohol on their bodies and their lives are far less likely to experiment with them, even in spite of the above factors.

Parents can do a lot for their children by making time for them, allowing open communication and encouraging discussions about drugs. Parents who make a point of sitting down to dinner with their children, are home at night, and teach their children about drugs and alcohol are far less likely to end up with their kids on drugs. It can even be as simple as asking how school is going and helping with any of the above problems that can predispose children to drug and alcohol abuse.