How Parents Can Keep Their Teens Drug-Free This Summer

BY GINA CILIBERTO, Volunteer for The Courage to Speak Foundation

Summer break is approaching and to teens this means no homework, more free time and less adult supervision. Most parents cannot afford to or have the flexibility to take a vacation from work during this time. Unfortunately, many teens will use their unsupervised freedom to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

Did you know…? 

According to The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)…

Drug use rises, among teens, in the summer

June and July are the most popular months for drug experimentation among teens.

  • On an average day in June and July, more than 11,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 use alcohol for the first time. Throughout the rest of the year the daily average for first-time alcohol use ranges from 5,000 to 8,000.”
  • An average of 5,000 youths smoke cigarettes for the first time, as opposed to the daily average of about 3,000 to 4,000 adolescents during the rest of the year.”
  • In terms of first-time use of marijuana, more than 4,500 youth start using it on an average day in June and July, as opposed to about 3,000 to 4,000 youths during the other months.”

Do you have a plan to help keep your teen stay safe and sober this summer? Here are 5 important and helpful tips!

1.) Find Constructive Ways to Keep Your Teen Busy
Encourage your teen to take a summer job or participate in organized activities, such as sports. Not only can this help keep your teen away from drugs, but it can also help them make new friends, gain confidence and independence.

2.) Check in Throughout the Day
Call them occasionally throughout the day, even if it’s just one call, to see what they are doing and who they are with. It is important to hear their voice, as you may be able to tell from the sound of their voice and what they are saying, if they seem to be acting like themselves.

3.) Know your Teen’s Friends
Is your child spending time with with right crowd? Become acquainted with your teen’s friends. Peer pressure often gives into drug and alcohol use, so it is important to make sure your child is spending time with those who do not engage in substance abuse, and therefore your child will be less likely to engage as well.

4.) Set a Good Example
If you do not want your teen using, then you shouldn’t either! Don’t keep alcohol or tobacco in your home and keep your prescription drugs out of reach. Explain to your teen, your prescription drugs are yours and yours ONLY and most importantly, that you would never take more than the recommended dose prescribed by your physician.

5.) Keep an Open Dialogue With Your Teen
Even if you don’t believe your child will ever try drugs or alcohol, make it absolutely clear that you do NOT approve of your child using these substances under any circumstances! However, leave the opportunity for discussion open and make sure your teen feels comfortable talking to you about anything-even making the wrong decisions; for example: if your teen has been drinking, wouldn’t you rather they call you for a ride home, than get behind the wheel because they are too afraid of telling you they went to a party and drank?

Have a Safe and Enjoyable Summer!

For Additional Information, Please Visit the Following Referenced Sites:

www.narcanon.org

www.samhsa.gov

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