Summer has come and gone, and as the leaves turn gold, our teens go back to school and spend more time with their friends than they do at home. While they ideally are in school to learn what they need to learn in order to lead productive and fruitful adult lives, there are some who unfortunately take a different road. It is a parents’ worst nightmare. Vigilance and knowledge, however, can help in ensuring that your teen remains on the straight and narrow road.
The substances that are being abused – even by teens – include alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco, as well as ecstasy, cocaine/crack, heroin, and methamphetamine. While a recent survey indicated a decline in methamphetamine use, we should all remain vigilant about protecting our teens from the lure of meth.
Even sports have been tainted with substance abuse. Some athletes – professional or otherwise – have turned to steroids to improve their performance, and this trend has seeped through high school sports as well.
Another challenge is the fact that normal, everyday substances found in our homes are being abused. Prescription painkillers and cough medicines ought to bring relief to pain and cough, but their relative accessibility has led to abuse. Noxious chemicals that are meant to improve your home are being used as inhalants.
Parents may want to watch out for these outward signs, which may be indicative of substance abuse: changes in mood, attitudes, sleeping hobbies, and interests; unusual tantrums and outbursts; withdrawal; hostility; and poor grooming.