Teen drug and alcohol abuse can have major impacts on your child’s life. That’s why we’ve listed 18 ways to prevent teen addiction to help you and your teen live a healthy and bright life.
1. Know your teen’s activities
Pay close attention to where your teen hangs out with their friends. Discover what type of activities your teen is interested in and help encourage them to get involved.
2. Know who your teen’s friends are
If the people your teen considers as friends use illegal substances or drink while underage, your child may feel pressure to experiment as well.
3. Establish ground rules and enforce consequences
Educate your child on your family’s rules and expectations for one another. Remind them not to ride in a vehicle where there may be an intoxicated driver, or leave a party where drug use occurs. If your rules are broken, enforce appropriate consequences.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, (800) 662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: (800) 487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
5. Keep track of prescription drugs in the home
Take inventory of all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications throughout your home and keep them in a safe place.
6. Provide support
Offer encouragement and support when your child accomplishes something. A parent’s bond can absolutely help prevent troubled youths from abusing drugs and alcohol.
7. Be a good role model
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Use prescription drugs only as directed by your physician and stay away from illicit drugs.
8. Don’t Give in to Peer Pressure
Teenagers and young adults often experiment with drugs to portray a cool image in front of their peers – even on social media. They may do it to try to fit in, but some kids wrongly believe that doing drugs or drinking while underage will make them more acceptable or popular with other kids. Not giving in to peer pressure can definitely help prevent addiction.
9. Develop Close Family Ties
Research indicates that teens who have a close relationship with their families are less likely to become addicts. Guidance and support provided by their loved ones can make it easier for youth to deal with life’s pressures and stay away from harmful substances.
10. Develop Healthy Habits
Practicing a balanced diet with exercise is another way of preventing drug and alcohol addiction. Being healthy and active makes it easier on your brain and body especially during stressful situations. This, in turn, reduces the temptation to rely on drugs and alcohol when times get tough.
11. Limit time spent on electronics
Research has proven time and time again that excessive internet stimulation can not only create addictive tendencies by itself but also exposes adolescents to images and video content that glamorize alcohol and drug use.
12. Be honest with your kids about your previous drug or alcohol abuse
Trust and a strong bond between you and your child can go a long way here. Parents should be honest with their kids about their own addiction history, especially when your teen asks about it.
13. Insist on your community getting involved in drug and alcohol abuse prevention
When your local community and school districts get involved to raise awareness on educating teens on substance abuse, time and time again the common problems reduces in the area.
14. Get your kids involved in extracurricular activities
Many of us experience stress on a daily basis; at work, at home, in school or just being around family. While there’s no way to eliminate all life’s stresses, you can still learn to recognize when stress builds up and becomes overwhelming. Make sure you take action at that moment and minimize it as much as possible in order to avoid turning to drugs or alcohol.
16. Seek help for mental illness
Mental illness and substance abuse can often go hand in hand. You may not be aware you are dealing with a mental illness such as depression or anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. This is the time to seek professional help from a licensed therapist or counselor at Olympia House. Like many others have experienced before you, we will provide you with healthy coping skills to help alleviate your symptoms without needing to turn to drugs or alcohol.
17. Keep busy and stay motivated
A common trigger that can be hard to avoid is boredom – and we all experience it. Sometimes you’ll have nothing to do, and you don’t want to spend time with friends or family. This is a common scenario for those working towards reintroducing themselves to daily life after substance abuse treatment.
18. Ask for help
For some, addiction triggers relate directly to the people around them. Being around the actions of just 1 person can cause your teen to get off track. When another person’s actions cause them to feel an addiction trigger building, they must recognize the need to turn to someone else for help at that moment right away. We encourage you to contact us no matter the reason. Olympia House Rehab wants to provide you the guidance you and your family deserve.