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The best thing parents can do to help prevent drug and alcohol misuse by their children is to get involved before a drug problem starts. It's best to start talking with your child about these harmful substances when your child is age 5 or 6.1 Talk honestly and openly about all kinds of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol as well as other things kids may do to cope with stress in their lives. Getting "high" is just one way that children try to deal with things that bother them.
Focus on the positive
Explain the dangers and consequences of tobacco, drug, or alcohol use
Be aware that some adolescents and teens try to get a rush by cutting off oxygen to the brain, such as through choking or strangling each other. Talk to your child about these dangerous behaviors. Explain that they can result in lifelong problems or even death.
Many adolescents feel pressured to use alcohol or drugs because some of their friends are using them. Here are some tips to teach your child on how to deal with peer pressure.
Encourage your child to:
Look for a peer-led prevention program in your area to help reinforce what you are teaching.
- American Cancer Society (2010). Child and teen tobacco use. Available online: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/TobaccoCancer/ChildandTeenTobaccoUse/index.
- DiFranza JR, et al. (2007). Symptoms of tobacco dependence after brief intermittent use: The development and assessment of nicotine dependence in youth-2 study. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 161(7): 704–710.
- Wu L, et al. (2004). Inhalant abuse and dependence among adolescents in the United States. Journal of the American Academy of Adolescent Psychiatry, 43(10): 1206–1214.
Other Works Consulted
- Kaul P (2011). Adolescent substance abuse. In WW Hay et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pediatrics, 20th ed., pp. 145–158. New York: McGraw-Hill.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics|
|Last Revised||February 28, 2012|
Last Revised: February 28, 2012
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