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.

If You Want to Overcome Alcohol Abuse, Here Are the Best Strategies for a Successful Recovery

The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that one in six people in the U.S. struggles with alcohol abuse. It is very likely that you are related to or know someone who is affected by alcoholism. The first step to making a change is realizing that change is needed. If you want to overcome alcohol abuse, here are the best strategies for a successful recovery.

Overcoming alcohol abuse and dependency is a step-by-step process that often includes: taking the time to understand the disease of alcoholism; planning and staging an intervention; getting the appropriate treatment, rehab and counseling; and continuing long-term recovery with after care

Understanding the Disease of Alcoholism

Understanding the disease of alcoholism is a vital first step in getting better and overcoming alcohol abuse. It is a commonly misunderstood (and accepted) concept that because alcohol is legal that it is harmless. Scientific research however shows that alcoholism is a disease and it has real outcomes. Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic defines alcoholism as a progressive and chronic disease with psychological and physical consequences.

Planning and Staging an Intervention

In some cases it is necessary to plan and stage an intervention especially when the individual does not realize the effects their alcohol abuse. Interventions may be formal or informal should not be aggressively confrontational. The most effective interventions are calm and include family members and friends expressing to the person with alcohol abuse how their drinking is affecting them.

Detox Treatment

Some people cannot stop drinking on their own no matter how hard they try, and will need to seek assistance from a professional medical detox facility. A residential medical detox will allow the individual to check into a facility and receive 24/7 care and treatment to remove the toxins from alcohol use.
The method used during the detox treatment will make a difference in how comfortable the patient is throughout the process. If the patient is not comfortable during detox, they will likely walk out before the treatment is complete.

Rehab Programs

Rehab programs are designed to help the individual develop a better understanding of alcoholism, while at the same time teaching them how they can have a happy and productive life without alcohol; as well as tips on how to avoid relapse and what to do should it occur.

The great thing about rehab is that there is a program to accommodate many different circumstances. If checking into a residential center for 6 weeks or longer does not fit, there are outpatient centers that will allow the individual to participate during the day or evening and still be able to attend to their home responsibilities.

After Care for Long-Term Recovery

The fact is that alcohol recovery is a life-long process. After detox and rehab end, most find that participating in a community-based support group can help them be successful in recovery. The good news is that there are many different support groups to choose from, including 12-Step, holistic, etc… there really is something for everyone.

Save A Life! Seven Ways To Stop Drug And Alcohol Abuse

The problem, the stigma, the black mark that crushes everyone’s life – drugs, illegal drugs, over-the-counter drug use, how do we stop it? No one has the perfect answer on how to stop people from using drugs, but there is one way that you can give your children better chances than they might have when it comes to winning the war against drugs. How do I know this – from personal experience, from living life, from growing up in the generation of flower power and the era when drugs were prevalent and widespread throughout the large cities in America. What was one of the things that helped keep me away from drugs when drugs were all around me? If you knew the answer of how to stop your children from using drugs would you use the solution?

Nothing is guaranteed, of course. Everyone is an individual and of course, if one person wants to do drugs and if one person feels they need to do drugs, then that person will abuse drugs. However, there are little things, ordinary things that we can do to guide our children in the better directions in life, and these little things have been proven to work on most children. Here is how you can give your children a head start, a running start in the race against illegal drugs in your society.

  1. Enforce an atmosphere where time is valuable and that valuable time is filled with good events, good projects, and valuable hobbies. Any time that is spent doing good, doing productive projects, being busy being creative is that much less time that any person will spend doing drugs or being hooked on drugs. introduce your children to being creative, to having a hobby, to becoming very interested in bringing good into their lives and you will have given your children an anti-drug asset. If you look at other teens and adults, it is usually the teens and adults that are occupied with LIFE that have no time and have no interest for illegal drug use. So, first priority, get your child or teen interested in a hobby that rocks their world. Let them choose the hobby and that hobby will last them a lifetime.
  2. Teach your children the valuable lesson that God is forever with them, wherever they are, with no matter what they are doing. When children realize that God is with them, right there, at that very moment, then children -when approached by drug dealers — will just say no. Anyone who believes in God and believes that God is with them in every moment of their lives will be stronger when it comes to fighting against drug use. Faithful believers are generally much stronger, emotionally than people who believe in nothing. The reason for this is because it is common sense that two are stronger than one. So when a child has a strong faith in God, that child is never alone. That child has a Buddy that will help that child fight the urge to join the drug users. That works! That child has someone they can call on in times of temptation and weakness, and most times, that simple solution to lifes’ problems does work.
  3. Talk to your child about drugs. Give them the information that they need to have in their lives. But most importantly talk to them about drugs even when you think that they are too young to know about drugs. No child is too young to learn about illegal drug use. Your approach in the talk will be different depending on the age of the child. But every single child should be taught about illegal drug use. Besides this talk to them about alcohol abuse.
  4. KNOW that there are sometimes direct links between alcohol abuse and illegal drug use or abuse of prescription drugs. There are times when a child or teen will be very vulnerable to using illegal drugs when normally they would not dream of toughing the product. These times are the times when a child is weak or vulnerable – for example, if a child or teen has abused alcohol or is really drunk. That child will possibly accept drugs if that child is drunk when normally that child had the attitude of “just say no” to drugs. This is how educated children or teens get hooked on drugs when they have, all their life, been anti-drug. So, a clear, present, solid education on alcohol abuse is one of the weapons that you have in your arsenal against illegal drug use and against prescription drug use.
  5. Keep your prescription drugs out of the medicine cabinet and keep them inside a locked box away from children and teens. Every child has a bit of temptation inside of them. It is best to get the drugs out of plain view. The bathroom and the medicine cabinet are private places. Children and teens can look through there and experiment in there and you would never know it happened. Knowledge is your second weapon against drug use. So keep all and any prescriptions locked up and out of the bathroom. Throw out all old prescriptions. You do not need them if they have been sitting for years. They are not valuable to you and if you need them again, you should go to the doctors and get new prescriptions.
  6. Clear your home out. You can have alcohol in your home, just do not have a liquor store inside your home. Do not make your home a storage home for abundant alcohol or prescription, or illegal or legal drugs. This is so important in fighting the drug war. Why have a stock of these items when children and teens are in the house. Children and teens are natural curious people and they are experimenters. There are children and teens who never would have been hooked had the product not been in the home. So do your best. If you need a supply of anything in your home, make it a supply of good reading books, and good music and wonderful creative projects and and arts and crafts items.
  7. Do not use illegal drugs yourself. Just say no! When your child or teen sees you abusing drugs, illegal or legal, you are teaching your child how to live. You do not want to teach that lesson. If you think that you can take illegal drugs and not set a bad example, you are mistaken. I know of one family who used pot but forbid the children to use pot because it was illegal. Of course, that child grew and when that child reached a certain age, that child became a full time drug user. That child grew up to be a drug dealer, and wound up in jail and is now currently either in jail or in a half-way house. That child has a lifetime of illegal drug use. That same child who watched his parents smoke “recreational pot”. Sometimes your children will not have the strength or resistance that you might have. So do not think that you can take drugs into your home and not promote these drugs to your own children. Do not use illegal drugs and do not abuse alcohol or prescription drugs. Care about your children even if you do not care about yourself. Please save your child’s life by not doing anything illegal.

Doing any or all of these things in your home will give your child and your teen strength and possibilities of avoiding illegal drug use and avoiding prescription drug abuse and avoiding alcohol abuse. Try your best to follow the instructions listed above and you will be giving your child and teen a head start in this world. It is worth trying. Yes, there are no guarantees in life. I am not saying that if you do all this that your child or teen will never take drugs. However, I am saying that if you do all these things or most of these things, your child will have better reasons to live, better reasons to enjoy life and your child will have a 85 percent chance of fighting illegal drug use and alcohol abuse than any other person has in their life. Do it. Try it. What do you have to lose? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. This is your child’s life that we are talking about. Wouldn’t you do anything to save your child’s life? Most people would. Now, in that perspective , all those actions seem like very easy things to do!

So, what makes me an expert on illegal drug abuse? Here is how I come across this gem of information that definitely saves lives. I grew up in a city that was filled with drugs. I could get drugs whenever and wherever I wanted to. Yet, I used the policy of “Just Say No” -long before this project came out to television. That was my motto. I just said no. It is easy to just say no BEFORE you are hooked, before you ever touch an illegal drug. And that is why you begin early. Catch your child’s interest before they have a chance to take drugs, and then you have the head start. So, back to the story, most of my friends began taking drugs. (I hung out with a group of friends and little by little, I noticed that they were trying marijuana. The minute I saw that they were using illegal drugs, I ran from my friends and I ran to my “hobby”. It was my hobby that saved me from trying drugs and it was my hobby that saved me from being like my friends. That’s all it took, one hobby. Instead of becoming introduced to drugs I become fully attentive to my hobby. I am telling you from first hand experience that a hobby gives your child or teen an eighty-five percent chance -better than the average person’s chance to stay away from illegal drug use, and other abuses.

Where does faith and belief come in? I am not talking about religion. Religion has never saved anyone from drugs. I am talking about a sincere faith and belief in God and or in the Bible. That is where the strength comes from. And this is your backup plan (which should be your first plan, but everyone is individual). At times when a person is so vulnerable that they are too tired, too weak or too busy or preoccupied to reach for or to think of their hobby, that is where faith comes in. Everyone can pray; everyone can reach out to God. All it takes is a thought. That is why faith is so wonderful. Faith requires no physical effort. So faith fills in where the hobby left off. Even if you are totally exhausted and can not move, you still have the energy left for prayer, a silent prayer or verbal prayer. You can pray.

By using all of the above tools you can possibly safeguard your child and teens from jumping into the world of illegal drugs and alcohol and prescription drug abuse.

So, what was the outcome of my own tools? I grew up with almost everyone around me using illegal drugs. My knowledge let me “leave” the group and run to my hobby. I never even touched a marijuana cigarette. I never took one illegal drug. That is enough proof for me that this system and these tools works. I have many friends who have died from drug use and have many other friends who wound up in rehabs and had miserable lives because they had no hobby to run to and no faith to take over when there was no physical strength to do their hobby. Almost everyone around me, in my circle of friends caved in to peer pressure and caved in to taking illegal drugs. I wonder how many might have stopped short of that if they just had faith or a hobby. None of my friends had a hobby so when marijuana came around, they made marijuana their hobby. Many of them had religion. They had to go to church on Sundays; they had to follow certain man-made religious rules. But none of them had faith in God or faith in themselves. Their faith was in marijuana. Their faith failed them when they needed real faith.

This system works if you dare use it. Yes, yes, yes, I hear you. It is not foolproof, but I guarantee you this. If you use this system, your child will have a better chance than anyone else’s child. How do I know? I have proof of it. I just said no! Help your child say no! Bring a system, a plan into your home and into your life. You will be glad that you did.

And deep down inside of every one of us is the challenge, the need to be noticed, to be visible. If there is someone who is invisible in your life today, take a step to bring them into your big picture. You can do it and you will be glad that you did.

I hope you take the advice and I hope that you pass this article around your circle of friends because by doing so, you have the opportunity to save someone’s life. And in saving one person’s life, you are saving an entire family. People who use drugs ruin lives; they ruin whole families. So please take this step today, and help save your child’s life. You will be so glad that you did this.

Updated May 2008.