Help for Dealing with Kids and Drugs
If you could do one thing that would help your child succeed in school, live a healthier life, and develop to his or her fullest potential, would you do it?
If you answered "yes," then talk with your child about alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Find out what he knows. Explain to her that using these substances can interfere with studying and can cause grades to suffer by affecting memory and learning skills. Describe the harmful health effects of substances. Let him know how these substances can cause problems in relationships and among friends and can tear families apart. Study after study has found that parents make a difference in the choices their children make. Please know that you make a difference!
By the time they enter preschool, most children have seen adults smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol either in real life or in the media, or both. Children today are exposed to illegal drugs as early as elementary school, so it's never too early to talk with your child about drugs.
It is the goal of this website to help you do just that. It is designed for parents and caregivers of children ages 7 to 13. It focuses on six key things you can do to help your child grow up drug free:
Establish and maintain good communication with your child.
Get involved in your child's life.
Make clear rules and enforce them with consistency and appropriate consequences.
Be a positive role model.
Teach your child to choose friends wisely.
Monitor your child's activities.
The suggestions in this guide are just that - suggestions. You may want to translate this information into your own words and use your own style to communicate it.
If You Love a Child, You Need To Know This
As you read this guide, you may wonder how useful the information is to you and your child. Some parents aren't aware of how common alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs are in their child's life. The facts may surprise you. However, they shouldn't discourage you. Parents have an incredible influence on their child's decision whether or not to use drugs. The following facts emphasize just how much your children need your support and guidance when it comes to making positive decisions about alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs.
Drugs Are Everywhere
Youth drug use cuts across all ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic lines. Youth experience pressure to use alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs at increasingly early ages. In fact, in one survey, adolescents ages 12 to 17 named drugs (along with social and academic pressures) as the most important problem they face.
"Every child in America is a risk of using drugs, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status." - National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse II.
The 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) states that:
Among surveyed youths, ages 12 to 17, more than 1 in 9 (11.6 percent) reported current use of illegal drugs in the 30 days before the study.
Marijuana is the major illegal drug used by this group; 8.2 percent of youths were current users of marijuana in 2002.
Among 12 and 13-year-olds surveyed, 4.2 percent reported current illegal drug use. The primary drugs used by 12 and 13-year-olds were marijuana, nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers, and inhalants.
Statistics show that, fortunately, the majority of youth do not use drugs. However, some parents still underestimate how often their kids are exposed to drugs. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (an organization that conducts attitude surveys of youth and parents):
Eighteen percent of parents think their child has tried marijuana versus 40 percent of teens who say they have tried marijuana.
Thirty-one percent of parents believe their teen has been offered drugs versus 52 percent of teens who say they have been offered drugs.
Four percent of parents think their child has abused inhalants versus 19 percent of teens who say they have abused inhalants.
If your child uses drugs, what other risks might he face? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
Youth, ages 12 to 17, who smoke cigarettes are over 8 times more likely to use illegal drugs and over 17 times more likely to drink heavily than nonsmoking youth.
Youth, ages 12 to 17, who use marijuana weekly are nine times more likely than nonusers to experiment with illegal drugs or alcohol, six times more likely to run away from home, five times more likely to steal, nearly four times more likely to engage in violence, and three times more likely to have thoughts about committing suicide.