Back in 1993, the newspapers announced that adolescent drug abuse was rising alarmingly – especially among 13-year-olds. In 2002, the headlines celebrated the drug abuate was falling among teens. What is it like today?
There’s been a study done that was recently published in The Journal of Addiction Medicine. They surveyed several thousand high school students in Connecticut and found that about half of all of them had tried marijuana. And a quarter of them did it routinely. And interestingly, adolescent drug abuse was less often found among students who were very active in sports. Students who get C grades are far more likely to take to drugs somewhat and teenagers who have both parents living at home are somehow less likely to do it. And surprisingly, students who have a job are likely to take drugs. Among the different races, they found that African-American boys and Caucasian girls were the most likely to use drugs.
All of which sounds quite scary. What do you do if you aree a parent and you want to know if your teen might be part of these statistics? Adolescent drug abuse does come with certain identifiable symptoms. The easiest would be to judge to see if there is something smoky on their breath. Pay close attention, and the signs of a hangover could be apparent too. Drug use makes a person disoriented; a persistent cough, watery eyes and inexplicable tiredness all point to drug abuse.
Attendance at school, quality of schoolwork, an apparent lack of interest in life, can all point to some kind of disturbing news; but one of the best clues to adolescent drug abuse can come from a look at the friends a teen keeps. If you can take the time to get to know your teen’s friends or the people he or she hangs out with, or if you were to look in at a party your teen went to, it could tell you quite a lot.
Studies seem to suggest that as with any disease, adolescent drug abuse gets out of hand because parents don’t cotton on early enough. A home environment where there is everyday conversation about everything to do with life for the teen, can easily help you bring up any of these issues. Do you remember how hard it is to make excuses that really stick? Having an atmosphere of open discussion in the home makes it hard for a teen to think of an appropriate-enough lie if he wishes to go hang out with undesirable friends. The more the information parents have on a teen from talking to him, the more difficult it will be for the teen to make things up. Establishing a relationship with your child then is the real secret to preventing adolescent drug abuse.