Talk to any group of teenagers and you are likely to hear about stress: the pressure to achieve academically, to get into a good college, to be well-rounded, to be beautiful, to be thin, to be popular, to find their passion. One group that spends a lot of time listening to teenagers is the Freedom Institute , a New York-based group that focuses, in its Independent School Program , on adolescents at risk for alcohol and drug use. They see increasing demands on adolescents, combined with 21st century lifestyles, making kids more vulnerable than ever to drug abuse and addiction. In their new book, Stay Connected: Helping Your Teen Navigate Tough Choices , the Independent School Program offers parents a guide to some of the typical scenarios that can lead kids to get deeply into substance use, and practical advice on how to steer your child away from those risky situations. What follows is an excerpt from the book.
Adolescent Substance Abuse | Teen Drug Abuse and Teen Alcohol Abuse Treatment
There is no single reason why teenagers use drugs or alcohol. But here are some of the core issues and influences behind the behavior of teenage drug and alcohol use. In their minds, they see drug use as a part of the normal teenage experience. For example, some teens abuse prescription medicine to manage stress or regulate their lives. Others are abusing prescription pain relievers and tranquilizers to cope with academic, social or emotional stress. Not only do alcohol and marijuana give them something to do, but those substances help fill the internal void they feel.
Some of the most common concerns for parents of adolescents are tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. The pressure to experiment with these substances can come from friends and peers. If you suspect your child is using these substances, open a discussion about the dangers involved with using tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Here are some key points you should try to emphasize:. Smoking can turn into a lifelong addiction that can be extremely hard to break.
Many parents are concerned about alcohol as well as other drugs as their children grow up, and for good reason. Young people are at greater risk of alcohol-related harm than adults. Findings include:.