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.

Talk to your child about drug abuse

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.

4. Talk to your teen

Yes, it can be that simple. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that when parents do talk to their kids about alcohol or drug use while simultaneously educating them with facts about substance abuse, their children are 400% less likely to abuse substances later in life.

What is SAMHSA’s National Helpline?

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.

Encourage and support your teen6. 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.

Reduce time on cell phones11. 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

Did you know that Iceland currently has the lowest young adult substance abuse rates in the world? They attribute this to after-school activities and closely monitoring the teens’ time, who they spend it with and what they are doing while in and outside of school.

15. Avoid Stress whenever possible

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.

Enjoy time with family17. 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.