KNOW THE FACTS
While statistics surrounding youth alcohol and drug use
are frightening, parents can't afford to stick their
heads in the sand. Your child's health and perhaps life
may depend on your ability to address this issue.
Fact: Youth alcohol and drug use is
as widespread as ever.
Reality check: 82 percent of high school
seniors have used alcohol, 50 percent have used
marijuana and 9 percent have used cocaine, according to
the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which also reports
binge drinking consuming five or more drinks in a row
during the preceding two weeks by almost 30 percent of
high school seniors and 24 percent of 10th graders.
Fact: Stronger drugs have become
available from an increasing number of global sources.
Reality check: 30 years ago marijuana
typically contained less than 1 percent THC the
psychoactive component of marijuana. Today, marijuana
typically contains 15 percent THC. "Blunts"
marijuana wrapped in cigar packaging are increasingly
popular and often contain marijuana mixed with crack,
heroin or PCP.
Fact: Alcohol and drug use
correlates with increased violence that leads to injury
or death, even among first-time experimenters.
Reality check: Researchers estimate that
alcohol use is implicated in one- to two-thirds of
sexual assault and acquaintance or "date" rape
cases among teen and college students.
TALK EARLY. TALK OFTEN.
If your child is old enough to recognize words or images
associated with alcohol and drugs, your child is old
enough for you to bring up the subject.
Discuss substance abuse whenever you see it
happening. Help young children distinguish between
adults appropriate and moderate alcohol use vs.
intoxication or inappropriate behavior. Draw upon real
experiences that happen in the community or situations
portrayed on TV, movies, and radio.
Be specific that alcohol and other drugs are
dangerous to a still-developing body and mind. Be
specific about the problems that arise from using
alcohol and drugs, such as:
Whether a parent chooses to drink alcoholic beverages
in front of his or her child is a personal decision. But
do recognize the power of the silent messages you send.
For instance, your child will be apt to associate
alcohol with relaxation if you unwind with an alcoholic
beverage after a hard day at work.
Set clear limits regarding alcohol and drug use and
communicate these expectations regularly with your
child, focusing on your concerns about overall health
and safety. If you don't want your child to use alcohol
until he or she reaches the legal drinking age of 21,
Consult with your spouse to determine appropriate
limits and consequences for your child. Consequences
should reflect your child's interests such as
restricting social contact, recreational activities,
movies, video games or use of the family car. Assert
your parental role and follow through with consequences.
Know where your kids are going and who they spend
time with. Don't compromise your limits by giving in to
pleas of "all the other kids get to." Dialog
with other parents about what they hope for and expect
of their children. You may be surprised how many other
parents share your concerns about alcohol and drug use.
Eighty-two percent of high school seniors have
used alcohol, 50 percent have used marijuana, and 9
percent have used cocaine.
Family Group, 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway,
Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617, 800-356-9996
American Council for
Drug Education, 164 West 74th Street, New York, NY
Center for Youth and Families, 11505 36th Ave.
N.,Plymouth, MN, 55441-2398, 800-833-4497
Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, P.O.
Box 2345, Rockville, MD, 20847, 800-729-6686
National Council on
Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, 12 West 21st Street,
New York, NY, 10010, (212) 206-6770
Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 60000
Executive Blvd., suite 400 Bethesda, MD 20892-7003 (301)
on Drug Abuse 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 10-05
Rockville, MD 20857 (301) 443-6480
The Hazelden Foundation offers nearly 50 years of
pioneering leadership in the care of chemically
dependent people and their families.
Established in 1981, Hazelden Center for Youth and
Families (HCYF) provides alcoholism and drug dependency
treatment services to youth ages 14 to 25. Located a few
minutes west of Minneapolis, HCYF is situated on 15
wooded acres along the north shore of Medicine Lake.
This serene setting provides the perfect backdrop for
personal reflection and in-depth interaction.
HCYF provides a safe, supportive environment where
young people can face their chemical use and learn to
make healthy decisions about its role in their lives.
Its a place where young people, parents and families
begin to rebuild lives that have been racked with
uncertainty, pain, fear and helplessness.