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.

 

 

Gateway Treatment Centers Support Red Ribbon Week with Free Family Guides

substance abuse, gateway treatment centers

Click for a Free Copy of Gateway’s Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse

In support of Red Ribbon Week’s drug awareness campaign, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers will distribute red ribbons and free Family Guides on how parents can talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol.

The goal of Red Ribbon Week is to promote drug awareness among parents and teens to keep young people drug free. Children whose parents regularly talk to them about drugs and are 42 percent less likely to use them, according to the Red Ribbon campaign, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

“Most parents are already aware they should be talking to their children about the risks of drug and alcohol use, but they might be unsure of how to handle such a topic,” said Lori Dammermann, Executive Director of Gateway’s Carbondale center. “The Family Guide offers advice on how parents can initiate and maintain an ongoing conversation with their kids to help keep them drug free.”

The guides will be distributed in schools and other public places throughout Illinois. They cover such topics as talking to your children about drugs and alcohol, understanding substance abuse, information on drug treatment and signs of potential trouble that parents should watch out for.

The ribbons declare this year’s theme for Red Ribbon Week: “Respect Yourself. Be Drug Free.”

Information is also available on the “Getting Help” section of the Gateway website at RecoverGateway.org. This includes the Family Guide, drug treatment options and how families can cope with a loved one who needs help.

The Red Ribbon Campaign, begun in 1985, is an effort by the National Family Partnership to promote drug prevention, education and advocacy.

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers offer a comprehensive approach to drug rehab. With facilities throughout the state, including Lake County, Chicago, St. Louis Metro East, and Carbondale, its staff creates personalized treatment plans for each client, one that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just their addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Services include substance-abuse education, group and individual counseling, medical treatment of withdrawal symptoms and integrated therapy for underlying mental health concerns. Gateway also provides family counseling and education, relapse prevention and aftercare recovery support programs for teens and adults.

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