Parents, 55.8% of teens say they believe the most common reason people their age choose not to drink or use drugs is their parents. This is either because they think their parents would disapprove or because they don’t want to get in trouble with their parents. This from a new study Teen Insights into Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine: A National Survey of Adolescent Attitudes Toward Addictive Substances, that was just released by the Center for Addiction. As hard as parenting a teenager is, it is nice to know you make a difference.
The study was conducted with over 1,000 teens ages 12 – 17. The researchers broke the group into 12 – 14 and 15 – 17-year olds. For the purpose of this blog and in the study “drugs” refer to alcohol, marijuana, tobacco/e-cigarettes or illicit drugs (cocaine, heroin…).
· 56.4% of all teens responded that they might try a substance in the future.
· About a quarter of teens responded that they have at least one friend that uses drugs, but this was 3 times higher for the older group (33.9% vs. 13%).
· A majority 82.5% of teens who have at least one friend that uses drugs also said that they are likely to try a substance in the future.
· Teens who have at least one friend that uses and/or said they might try, hang out with friends unsupervised at least once a week.
· Just over half of respondents said they would be able to get a drug within some period of time
· Of the 28% who had witnessed drug use in real life, the most common placed cited was on school property.
Parents, all is not lost. The report summarizes;
We hypothesized that parents and other caregivers can have a signiﬁcant impact on the extent to which their children are exposed to substances in their environment and to misinformation about them, and thereby help prevent their teens from experiencing the more direct risks for substance use: having friends who use drugs and having intentions to use in the future.
And then offers these suggestions;
· Eat meals with your children as frequently as possible.
· Remove distractions during meals and other family activities.
· Take an interest in your children’s interests.
· Know your children’s friends and whereabouts.
· Be well informed and up-to-date about the types of addictive substances your children might encounter.
· Have frequent, open, and honest conversations with your children about substance use and addiction, but also about their interests, their friends, their hopes and plans, concerns and fears.
· Set clear and fair rules and stick to them.
· Seek help early for signs of risk from a trusted health professional.
· Sign your family up for Gobi
Well, maybe not the last one but you get the picture. We are here to help.