7 Tips to Help Teens Prevent Underage Alcohol & Drug Abuse
Even though it may seem like it, not everyone is “doing it.” A recent nationwide survey conducted by “Monitoring the Future” (MTF), found that just about 53.3% of high school seniors have never tried alcohol or illegal drugs.
Here are 7 tips to help teens to deal with the challenges associated with underage drinking and drug use:
Step 1: Birds of a Feather – The people that we spend our time with can heavily influence our decisions, and you may be at increased risk if you hang around others who routinely drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, abuse prescription drugs or use illegal drugs.
Step 2: Think Ahead – Don’t become a victim of someone else’s alcohol or drug abuse. Make sure that there is someone you can call, day or night, if you need them to pick you up. Also, create a plan in advance for attending parties, or going out with your friends and inform your parents about them so that you are on the same page.
Step 3: Don’t Be Afraid, Say “No” – The fear of a negative reaction from one of our friends, or someone we’ve recently met, keeps us from thinking clearly and doing what we know is right sometimes. Don’t let someone else force a decision that they have made for their life onto yours. Say NO!
Step 4: Talk to Mom & Dad…or an Aunt or Uncle – Having people close to you that you can rely on creates a support system that can help you make tough decisions about alcohol and drugs. The opportunity to benefit from someone else’s life experiences can be invaluable and will only help you to put things into perspective.
Step 5: Educate Yourself – Don’t rely on the myths and misconceptions that are floating around amongst your friends, or the internet. Educating yourself increases your ability to make the right decisions, at the right time. As you learn, share what you’ve learned with your friends and your family so that they too can be empowered. See educational resources here.
Step 6: Speak Up, Speak Out & Take Control – Take responsibility of your life, your health and your safety. Speak up about what alcohol and drugs are doing to your friends and your community, and encourage others to do the same. If you, or someone you know, is having trouble with alcohol or drugs, get help now. Don’t wait!
Step 7: Don’t Include Alcohol or Drugs – Learn how to enjoy life without incorporating alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs can change who you are and limit your life’s potential. If you find that you have extra time that you may be spending unwisely, get involved in school and community activities such as music, sports, arts, or even volunteering.
These 7 tips to help teens will not only limit the amount of exposure to situations associated with drugs and/or alcohol, but they will also help to empower you so that you can help others to do the same. If you think that you, or a friend, may have a problem with alcohol or drug abuse, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help right now. (305) 273-3744 Ext. 7232
6 Tips for Parents to Help Prevent Underage Alcohol & Drug Abuse
It is difficult as parents to consistently monitor what our teens are doing throughout the day, every day. And it has definitely gotten increasingly more difficult to expect kids to refrain from underage abuse of alcohol and drugs without being properly armed with the right social tools. As parents, we are always trying to insulate our kids from these evils, but it is definitely an uphill battle.
Here are a 6 tips for parents to help create a plan that will help prevent underage drinking and/or drug abuse in their household.
Step 1: Discuss Expectations – It is important that you constantly speak with your children about what your expectations are regarding their behavior toward drugs and alcohol, and then work as closely with them to help meet those expectations.
Step 2: Be Open, or Be Shutout – Although it is much easier said than done, keep your communication open about alcohol use. An overreaction to bad news about alcohol use by your, or other, teens in your community, and you’re likely not to get the full story the next time a similar subject is brought up. The more your teen is willing to talk with you about alcohol, the better the chances that he or she will not drink.
Step 3: Self Esteem is Critical – Helping your children develop a strong sense of self-esteem, as well as the necessary social skills to withstand peer pressure, will help them avoid situations where they feel compelled to drink. Always let them know they are loved and valued.
Step 4: Spend Time with Your Children – Spend as much time with your children as you can. Let them know that you are aware of alcohol use within the school community, and that you know that they may be encouraged to drink alcohol by their peers. However, always be encouraging and implore them to make smart decisions.
Step 5: Make a Pledge – Make an alcohol-free pledge with your children throughout the duration of their high school years and constantly remind them about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, including the lethal effect of binge drinking. Suggest other ways for them to deal with stress and emotional problems and provide support for them throughout their challenges.
Step 6: Set Consequences – It’s important that kids understand that every decision they make has consequences. Don’t allow them to think they that are “getting away” with behavior that your family has deemed as unacceptable.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, more than 6 million young people reported that they have engaged in binge drinking. It is not hard to see why, when you see how teenagers are bombarded with advertising and subliminal messaging. When a teenager sees a beer ad, where the men and women are dancing and having a great time – and then the screen pans to a shot of their beers prominently displayed, and being consumed by these people who are having the times of their lives, it is difficult for them to forget that and focus on how bad alcohol is “supposed” to be for their health.
So, it is our job to consistently use the tools like the 6 tips for parents above to help our teenagers to abstain from alcohol and drug abuse.
If you think that your teen may have a problem with alcohol or drug abuse, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help right now. (305) 273-3744 Ext. 7232
Drug Use Trends & The Dangers: Flakka
Drug use trends show synthetic drugs on the rise. By now, many of you have heard about the synthetic designer drug “Flakka”, or, “Gravel” as it’s known in many parts of the country because of its white crystal chunks that have been compared to aquarium gravel. Flakka drug use has been spreading across Florida, leaving horrific stories in its trail.
One drug use trends report claims that a man who broke down the hurricane proof doors to a police department later admitted to being high on the drug. Another police report stated that a woman “ran down a neighborhood street screaming that she was Satan” while under the influence of Flakka. While the drug is supposed to produce a similar effect to cocaine, the dangers lie in the uncertainty within the dosages and the other foreign elements that are mixed with the drug during its development. Per South Florida Epidemiologist Jim Hall, even a small overdose of Flakka, which can be smoked, injected, or snorted, can lead to a variety of extreme symptoms, ranging from wild psychotic episodes marked by violent, super-human behavior, to spikes in body temperature and paranoia.
Flakka is Spanish slang for a skinny, beautiful woman (“la flaca”). However, this synthetic drug and beautiful women have nothing in common. The synthetic drug contains a chemical that is a close cousin of the key ingredient in “bath salts”. These chemicals destroy your body by sticking to molecules on the surface of the neurons that are responsible for keeping your levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, in check. These foreign chemicals flood your brain and create mood altering effects that last much longer that cocaine and other methamphetamines.
Although a Flakka high typically lasts several hours, there have been cases where the neurological effects were permanent. Cocaine is another drug that wreaks terrible havoc on your body’s systems, and because flakka, like bath salts, hangs around in body for much longer than cocaine, the extent of the potential destruction could be even greater. Another serious, potentially long term side effect of using flakka is its effect on your kidneys. As a result of hyperthermia, which is an increase in body temperature due to the body’s inability to internally regulate its core temperature, the drug causes your muscles to break down, and this takes a tremendous toll on your kidneys. Some survivors of flakka overdoses end up on dialysis for the rest of their lives.
The drug was finally banned in China over the summer and authorities have already seen a decline in Flakka associated reported cases. However, the problem with permanently getting rid of these drugs from our communities is that Chinese manufacturers can simply manipulate certain molecules, and that change is significant enough for the drug to pass through customs by a different chemical name. This ends up creating an even more dangerous game played by these manufacturers of who can quickly develop the new “Flavor of the Month”, because at the end of the day it’s all about money for them. They could care less about whether or not the drug is harmful and view its American consumers almost as their test subjects, or guinea pigs, to a certain extent.
We hope that you all paid close attention to the life altering effects that this drug use trend can have on your body and your future. With similar psychological side effects as “bath salts”, Flakka is nothing to play around with and has been at the center of numerous horror stories across the state. From the eating of people’s faces, to the Incredible Hulk-like destruction of public property from its users, Flakka has shown to be an uncontrollable synthetic drug that can have detrimental effects on the human brain and psychological well-being. Remember to take the pledge and BTRU2U!