In the small old factory town of Billerica, Massachusetts there have already been 22 teen deaths by overdose and we aren’t even through the first quarter of the year. It is a known fact that heroin is now cheaper and easier to come by then prescription opiates. What I wanted to know is why it is that the kids of today are so prone to drug and alcohol abuse, so I did some research to find out. Usually the teens get involved in drugs to change something about their lives:
- To fit into a community, group or gang
- To escape or relax
- To feel grown up among their peers
- To relieve boredom gaining excitement
- Te rebel or get violent without fear
- To experiment
- As a result of peer pressure
In some cases, teens become addicted as a result of being on opioid narcotics after a surgery.
I was speaking with a mother of a Billerica high school boy who has dabbled in drugs. She was told by the police that the public high school was infested with drugs, and then went on to list a bunch of teen hangouts where drugs and alcohol were easily found. I could feel her exasperation as she explained that there really were few places in town that her son would be in a drug and alcohol free zone. The question that a parent would need to ask is where can her son go where he won’t have these deadly insults on him?
In her case the answer became a bit clearer. The reality of the situation is that she has to rely on his own desire to have a future.
So what can you do to protect you own teen?
Provide role modeling that tells your child that you are a responsible adult. If you drink, do so in moderation. Let your child know your expectations up front and what the ramifications will be if you find out that your child is using drugs or alcohol.
Being a parent means that your expectations may not meet with the desires of your teen. Realize that a teen’s brain is more attuned to excitement without the ability to use good judgment. So it is your job as the parent to do what you can to protect and educate your teen.
Other things that help teens to stay away from drugs:
- Strong family bonds
- Strong parenting where parents take an active role in kids’ lives
- Parents who are not afraid to give appropriate guidance, interaction and love
- Parents are having high, yet reasonable expectations for grades
- Taking part in sports that don’t tolerate drug use
- Strong ties to the school, community organizations, religious organizations
I got this information from this resource:
Doing all of the above, even if your teen dabbles in use of cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol the likelihood of getting involved in the harsher drugs is less likely.
That said, there is a huge issue of drug addiction that occurs as a result of opiates given after surgeries. Make sure the doctor gives a very limited supply and that you are the one doling out the drugs for your kid’s safety. Hide the opiates so that the teen doesn’t have any idea where they are as an extra measure.
For more information on the consequences, types and effects of drugs and alcohol check out the information on these URLs and share it with your teens.
From the work that I have done with teens who are dealing with the issues of drug use I have these important factors to keep in mind:
It is more important then ever for parents to have a good idea of what their children are up to, who their friends are and to know and trust the parents of your teen’s friends. This too has become an issue where there are many drug addicted adults who have no problem allowing or even encouraging their kids and their kids’ friends to use drugs in their homes. In some cases these same parents will even have the kids purchase the drugs for the parent’s own use. In some cases the parents feel that it is safer to allow the teens to drink in their homes than having them out driving drunk. Sadly, it is difficult to know what is happening in someone else’s home. It is even difficult to know what may be going on in your own home while you aren’t present. The best thing that you can do is to let your teen know that if they feel uncomfortable at someone else’s home, that they can always call you to get a ride home if they are not of driving age. I have had several clients whose parents had this set up in advance which allowed them to know that at least their kid wasn’t using drugs or alcohol not wanting to be around it or the behavior that results.
Do your best to protect and educate your teens. After that it is really up to them because the sad reality is that one can’t really control another person.
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