New Techniques for Fighting Drug Abuse among Teenagers

Regardless of what parents or teachers try to do there will always be young people who experiment with drugs. The majority of young people in the US will try cannabis at least once, which rarely leads onto to regular use. However, occasionally experimentation with drugs leads onto abuse and addiction. What started off as infrequent use of cannabis may eventually lead to regular abuse of harder drugs.

For parents who are aware that their child is involved with drugs the situation often seems helpless. Most teenagers are at that stage of their lives where they are less willing to spend time at home and would much rather be out and about with their friends. There is no way a parent can constantly watch and protect their child, and do they really want to? For many of todays parents, experimentation with drugs and alcohol was a part of growing up, though since then drugs of all kinds have become much easier to get hold of, so what can you do?

Be Aware

Being able to identify drug abuse is probably the most important tool for fighting it. With most cases of drug abuse there are a number of tell tale signs that most of you will be able to identify straight away, here are some examples.

  • The Eyes- the majority of drugs have some effect on the dilation of the eyeballs, either making the pupils noticeably large or noticeably small, regardless of light changes. As well as the pupil size, certain substances can make the eyes look bloodshot.
  • Emotions- Different drugs have different effects on the brain, but noticing uncharacteristic behavior or mood swings may be a warning sign for drug addiction. However this can often be hard to differentiate between natural mood changes teenagers experience due to hormones.
  • Education- Drug abuse can quickly overtake someones life, getting another fix being the users main priority. An unusual drop in attendance and grades is often a signifier of substance abuse.
  • Hobbies- A fairly frequent sign of drug abuse is a loss in interests and hobbies. Frequent use of most drugs seems to drain the users passion for their previous interests.
  • Peers- Replacing childhood friends with new friends which you rarely see or get to learn about, could be a sign that your child is getting mixed up with the wrong crowd. On it’s own a change in friendship group is usually nothing to be suspicious about but accompanied with some of the previous examples, there may be cause for concern.

Be Frank

For many parents drugs are something of a taboo subject and are hardly something they would discuss at the dinner table. However new research shows that honest, frank and open minded discussions with your children reduce the likelihood of abuse. Whereas instructive, opinionated, judgmental conversations often have an adverse effect.

Occasional debates about drugs with your children will let you know how they feel about them and in turn help you consider how to deal with it. Presenting them with the real facts and risks rather than scare stories will let your child know that you’re having a mature discussion and make them feel more comfortable discussing this topic with you.

Whilst it might seem uncomfortable talking about drug abuse with your children and not getting opinionated, it proves to be the best method. Encouraging and demonstrating honesty and understanding will make your child much more willing to let you know if they have tried a drug, which allows you to intervene and make them aware of the risks.

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Taking Action

If your child is already in the grip of a drug addiction there is probably nothing more worrying, but there are plenty of ways to fight drug abuse.

Even if you haven’t already started talking openly and considerately about drugs it isn’t too late, letting your child know you have recognized their addiction and you want to help might cause arguments and problems at first but if you persevere and stay calm you’ll be able to help.

Assessing and identifying abuse is very important! If your child is frequently smoking cannabis then you will probably be able to tackle the situation yourself without the help of others. However if you find out your child has a problem with addictive prescription painkillers you will need to seek the assistance of medical professionals. Taking the time to understand the situation accurately will give you the best chance of helping your child and will make your child more willing to be helped.

If you are still struggling to get through to your child an intervention may be necessary. This involves gathering up all of your child’s close friends and family and letting him/her know how worried and concerned you all are and how much you want to help. Often, realizing how much they are worrying their loved ones motivates addicts to want to change their behavior.

Finally the last step you may need to take is rehab. There are plenty of different rehabilitation clinics over the US with specific treatments for a number of drug addictions, there is no shame in seeking help here and it is often the best help you can get.

This is a guest post provided by Stanley Martinson.  A part time writer, stanley is currently focused on drug related issues, and how to solve them. For more information on the subject, look at this!

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