Talking to Teens about “Back to School” Alcohol and Drug Use

As students return to school, it is important for parents to be mindful of their teens’ habits. Alcohol and drug abuse can easily become a problem in your child’s life, especially with the added stressors of a new school year. The top five reasons kids use drugs and alcohol are:

Students Looking Out Of School Bus Window

  1. To combat loneliness, low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression
  2. To mentally “check-out” of family issues or school trouble
  3. To ease discomfort in an unfamiliar situation
  4. To look cool or change their image/reputation
  5. To fit in with a desired group of friends

All these causes can be intensified at the beginning of the school year, as teens adjust to new classes, new classmates, and possibly a new school. This can lead to experimentation with drugs and/or alcohol.

According the 2015 Monitoring the Future study conducted by the University of Michigan, 58% of 12th graders used alcohol within the last year, 35% used marijuana, and 8% used amphetamines. While there has been a trend downward in these numbers, the percentage can still seem staggeringly high. Moreover, in the same study, it was found that only 32% of 12th graders think that regular use of marijuana puts the user at a great risk. This highlights the fact that not all teens are aware of the effects of drug use. In reality, marijuana can have a variety of harmful effects; among other issues, use can cause changes in adolescent brain development, increase the risk of psychosis, and cause lung complications. (Learn more about the effects of marijuana abuse at RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana)

To make sure your teen stays safe this school year, it is important to have a discussion about the risks associated with drug and alcohol use. You have more influence on your child’s values and decisions about using substances before he or she begins to use alcohol or drugs. But, starting the conversation isn’t always easy. For information about the dangers of teen drug use and for tips on how to have open conversations with your teen, download the Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse provided by Gateway Drug & Alcohol Treatment Centers.

 

 

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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