Posts Tagged adolescent drug abuse
Drug abuse has always been a lingering issue in the global scene, and especially in children and teenagers. It’s important for parents and guardians to always be on the lookout for the potential of their kids to engage in drug use.
If you suspect your teen children to be using (or abusing) drugs, here are five steps to help you address the issue:
1. Check signs of drug use
You may not be a licensed psychologist or drug abuse expert, but you may have observed some tell-tale signs that your child may be using drugs. Some of these include missing prescription drugs in the home cabinet, frequent and excessive use of perfume (to remove smoke odor), decline in academic standing, or less frequent socialization.
2. Search their things
Although it may appear as an invasion of privacy, searching your child’s things could give you hints on their potential drug abuse. Try to do a search discretely over your kids’ room, particularly in desks and drawers, under the bed, behind the closet, or any possible space that’s good for hiding stuff.
3. Intervene immediately
A prompt intervention is a good way to start handling a drug problem, but try to make it less painful and direct. Create an atmosphere of a welcoming discussion for your children. If you feel like your emotions will get the best of you, postpone the discussion to another time. Eventually, if you feel like your child is using illegal drugs, consult a professional who can handle the situation better.
4. Implement preventive actions proactively
Restrict access to things that can potentially induce substance abuse at home. Examples include locking the liquor cabinet, making a regular inventory of the medicine cabinet contents, or verifying his performance in school.
5. Be understanding
Drug abuse may be a sensitive and alarming problem, but don’t let your child think that you’re going to police and punish them for what they did. Instead, be a parent by caring for your kid’s welfare and eventual healing. Be as understanding as possible while being firm on saying no to illegal drug use.
In relation to the National Drug Facts Week from January 27 to February 2, 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has just released a 13-step guide on treating teenagers engaging in substance abuse.
The online resource, entitled “Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide”, is currently posted on the NIDA website to make it available for people dealing with teenage substance use — parents, experts in the field of substance abuse, and health care providers.
Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the institute, said through a NIDA press release that adolescents are susceptible to the temptation of using drugs because their brain functions are still developing into a more adult mindset. “These new resources are based on recent research that has greatly advanced our understanding of the unique treatment needs of the adolescent,” Volkow said.
Among the provisions of the drug abuse treatment guide include the following:
- Teen substance abuse treatment cases should be considered urgent.
- Drug prevention campaigns can help not only recovering teen drug users, but also those who haven’t used any drugs in their young life.
- Each teenager should be presented with a unique treatment scheme.
- Treatment should involve the family and the community.
This update from NIDA is a welcome news, after a 2012 survey on drug use revealed that of all the teenagers with drug abuse issues, only 10 percent of them receive treatment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new policy statement that tells doctors to ask their adolescent patients about their drug and alcohol use during visits and to be sensitive for any signs of substance abuse or dependence.
The advisory, which is published in Pediatrics, emphasized that developing brains are very vulnerable to addiction, which is why a doctor should be one of the first to know if a kid is in trouble with drugs or alcohol.
Dr. Sharon Levy, director for the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at the Children’s Hospital in Boston and co-author of the new policy, stressed the fact that screening of adolescents has always been a part of the process that keeps children healthy and safe.
What drove their group to issue such statement is due to the reality that doctors don’t usually ask their adolescent patients about their drug or alcohol activities.
Screening teens can be very helpful in keeping kids safe, or putting a stop to any developing behavior they may have towards addiction or dependence.
Doctors are now prescribed to ask their young patients if they are using drugs or alcohol, and find out under what circumstances these kids take the dangerous substances. After getting their answers, doctors should be able to give the age-appropriate and correct responses and encouragement. If there are any cases that need extra treatment, they should also provide treatment options to their patients.
Levy adds that adolescents are “an ideal group to screen. The risk of this is very low, the cost of this is trivial… and the potential benefit is huge.”
Several studies have revealed that teenagers are especially susceptible to drug use. While peer pressure may play a large role in this, there are also other factors to consider about this issue. Factors such as their psychosocial development and maturity level play a part as well.
During adolescence, teenagers tend to be rash and headstrong. While this kind of behavior is what makes a teenager a teenager, there are in fact biological facts that can support this claim. Brain development during this stage begins to go on a rapid rate, and the decision-making, self-control and judgment parts of the brain start to change as well. Sometimes, teenagers don’t cope with this change well, and a lot of anxiety can result from being unable to cope with these changes.
Here, the teenager’s sense of what is right and wrong may be impaired for a while, and the frustration that can result from this may take a long time to completely disappear, if it actually does. Those seeking an escape to this sometimes do drugs, which is a clear sign of desperation to get away from the harsh realities of life.
Because adolescence is a period of transition from child to adult, the individual’s sense of maturity can change as well. The natural inclination during early adolescence is to go out and try and do activities for adults. These activities may include sex, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs.
The lack of understanding of the nature of these matters can lead teenagers to destroy their lives. Here, the importance of educating the young adolescent properly on drug abuse, drug effects, drug testing and drug rehabilitation becomes important, as most drug users don’t have the know-how of the effects of drug use in the long run.
Growing up can be quite painful, but it is important to make the teenager realize that delving into drugs doesn’t make life any better. Knowing the adolescent’s reasons for using drugs can aid a lot in significantly reducing the rate of drug addiction.