5 Things Teachers Need to Know About Teens, and Drugs and Alcohol

5 things teachers need to know

5 Things Teachers Need to Know About Teens, and Drugs and Alcohol

It can be hard speaking to teens about drugs and alcohol in a way that isn’t met with eyes roles. It’s even harder as a teacher to understand when it’s your place to speak up. Educators play a huge role in developing teenage students. We can also play a pivotal role in helping these teens stay drug and alcohol-free. Since the world of drugs and alcohol in this country is shifting by the day, we thought we would offer a few tips. In conclusion, here are 5 things teachers need to know about teens, drugs, alcohol, and how you can make a difference.

 

1. The Drug and Alcohol Landscape Is Always Changing

The drugs available to teens today are stronger, and much more accessible than they were a few decades ago. In most cases, the drugs being used today are several times more potent than those that were being used 30 years ago. Compile that with the recent wave of recreational marijuana legalization across the country, and that has only added to the complexity of the situation. Most noteworthy, is that heroin and prescription drug abuse among teens has been on the rise for several years now. We officially have an opioid epidemic sweeping this country.

 

2. Drugs and Alcohol Don’t Discriminate

It’s easy to miss the drug or alcohol problems that a student may be struggling with. We can assume that good students can’t possibly be abusing drugs and/or alcohol. In reality, it’s just not that simple. Drug and alcohol abuse doesn’t discriminate and it can’t be predicted based on an individual’s background, income level, family success, or race.

 

3. Talk About Prevention Early and Often

Due to the ease of consuming digital content via mobile device technology, kids are developing positive ideas about drugs and alcohol at early ages. Especially through access to adult music and television shows. This is definitely one of the 5 things teachers need to know. It is critical that educators begin having preventative conversations with their students before they get to middle school age. Understand that this is not a one-and-done type of conversation. Education should be ongoing because teens will face pressures throughout the rest of their adolescent journey. Research encourages engaging with teens in regular ongoing talks about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. It can reduce the chance of them abusing drugs and/or alcohol by more than 40% (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2011).

 

4. Educate, Don’t Judge

In the past, educational programs geared towards teens primarily focused on the moral and legal consequences of their drug and alcohol use. However, arguments about how drugs will ruin their lives, or how they’ll end up in jail for smoking pot, just don’t resonate and are more likely to be ignored than received by today’s teens. We should focus our efforts on teaching the science behind drug and alcohol abuse. We need to talk to teens about the lasting impact that drugs and alcohol can have on their ability to learn, and the effects that it has on their developing bodies.

 

5. A Little Bit of Effort Can Make A BIG Difference

If you see something, say something. It’s important that as a teacher, you are not afraid to share your concerns because it can mean life or death. Your role as an educator is to listen, inform, and provide a good example for your students to follow. Creating and/or sponsoring after school programs and clubs are a great way to help. It’s a great way for your teen students to find healthy alternatives to wasting time abusing drugs and/or alcohol.

Take the pledge to be alcohol & drug free

Dangerous Teen Vaping Trends

Dangerous teen vaping

Dangerous Teen Vaping Trends

Dangerous teen vaping trends are up and while teens smoke cigarettes at a lower rate than years past, another product that has taken its place. E-cigarette use is on the rise. Mostly due to the ability to flavor tobacco with an array of fruity flavors and the type of smoke released. In addition to the flavors, teens also like vaping because it emits a lot of smoke. There are actually competitions on who can exhale better or more smoke. As teens do, they have now begun to push vaping limits and are practicing dangerous new vaping methods. As a result, new vaping trends are increasing the dangers linked with vaping and toxic exposures.

Dripping Vape Method Dangerous?

Through experimentation, there’s now new ways to vape. One method called “dripping” is gaining popularity among teens. Studies have found that one out of every four high school teens who has vaped has also tried “dripping”. “Dripping” is a dangerous new way of vaping and teens like it. Vape liquid is dropped directly onto the hot coils within the vaping device, hence, making thicker smoke. According to a recent study by www.Pediatrics.org . Sixty four percent of teens say that they use “dripping” to get a thicker smoke. Almost forty percent said that they “drip” for better taste.

What makes “dripping” so dangerous? Normally, when using an e-cig, liquid is slowly released from a wick onto a hot atomizer. As a result, vapor is expelled rather than smoke. Through “dripping”, users are exposed to higher nicotine levels and can be exposed to several toxins. Additional toxins may include carcinogens like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

E- Cig Popularity Grows Among Teens

E-cigarette products are becoming popular among teens. Most teenage e-cigarette users say that they don’t use other tobacco products. Consequently, some teens have taken advantage of this trend using vaping devices to smoke marijuana oils and waxes undetected. Since marijuana derivatives can be used in vape devices and pens, parents need to be vigilant. What your teen says is non-nicotine vape juice, may be THC liquid used for getting high. In conclusion, if you allow your teen to use vape devices, be sure to know what is being used in the device. Flavored vape liquid have a strong smell. Flavors and smell range from fruity, like gum or candy smell to things like cake flavors. Marijuana derivatives, or oil, doesn’t have a sweet smell at all. It has little to no smell and will give off an earthy odor.

Speak candidly and without judgement to your teens about dangerous teen vaping. Most of all, be prepared to listen. Avoid the  feeling to overreact. If you suspect that your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, please know that there is help available. You can start right here on our site.

Take the pledge to be drinking and drug free

Is the Current Opioid Epidemic New Though?

Opioid Epidemic

Is the Current Opioid Epidemic New Though?

It’s hard to turn on the news now-a-days without hearing shocking stories or statistics concerning the Opioid Epidemic. Opioid abuse has had a huge affect in our country. Some may think Opioid abuse is a new thing, but that’s not the case. Opioids aren’t new. If you have a headache, you take an aspirin, right? Sprained your ankle badly? The doctor will probably recommend ice and ibuprofen. Running a fever? Tylenol or Advil please. Having surgery? Well then, you’ll need some strong painkillers for your post-surgery pain. The issue isn’t as much with the Opioid itself. It’s how doctors began prescribing the more powerful opiates to help their patients with chronic pain.

Humans have used Opioids for Hundreds of Years

Opioids have been around for hundreds of years. Strangely enough, this is not the first U.S. crisis involving heavy drugs. During the Revolutionary war, an estimated 400,000 soldiers treated their pain with morphine. It is believed that this was the biggest cause for the rise in Opioid addiction during the early 1800’s. Similarly, over the past 20-30 years, the opioid epidemic has come roaring back to the US. Opioids have destroyed lives and communities across the country.

While it is easy to point fingers, and there is plenty of blame to go around. It is important to know that the Opioid epidemic did not begin solely because drug companies got greedy. It wasn’t because doctors turned into reckless pill prescribers overnight. Just like during the Revolutionary War, it began with empathetic doctors who were just trying to stop suffering. Especially in the cases of people dealing with chronic, and sometimes terminal, pain. However, what started off with good intentions quickly turned into a wild fire of abuse and over prescribing by physicians.

Opioid Use Old + New

Back in the day, the more popular opiates like heroin and morphine had stigmas attached to them. People were scared to inject themselves with needles and/or share intravenous drugs with other people for fear of diseases or aesthetic blemishes. During the past 30 years or so though, that’s changed. Some of the most powerful opiates are now produced in pill form. This has led to a decreased stigma behind their overall use. Drugs like Fentanyl and Oxycodone have replaced heroin and morphine as the drugs of choice among the users that can afford it. Fentanyl is the drug responsible for the death of artist “formerly known as Prince”. Those who can’t afford it, or whose insurance doesn’t cover their pain prescriptions, are prone to shooting heroin or morphine to get their fix.

 

Is it really an Opioid Crisis?

The New York Times recently reported that the number of drug overdose deaths exceeded 59,000 in 2016. The rise in the death toll from 2015 is the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States (19%).  This is just one of the major effects of an rising Opioid epidemic that is now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. If Congress and Senate leadership don’t do something soon, these numbers will continue to rise. The opiate crisis could become a plague.

Take the pledge to be drinking and drug freed

Are Teens Replacing Drugs with Technology

Are Teens Replacing Drugs

Are Teens Replacing Drugs with Technology? Despite being in the midst of an opioid epidemic, the increase in popularity of deadly synthetic drugs and the almost nationwide legalization of marijuana, something interesting has begun to take place over the course of the past ten years. Teenagers across the U.S. are becoming less and less likely to try and regularly use drugs and alcohol. Researchers have noticed this trend building for about a decade now, but have no clear answer as to why. Most attribute the decline in cigarette smoking as the primary reason. Citing that since cigarette smoking is a gateway to other drugs, and less kids are smoking cigarettes, less kids are entering the gateway to using alcohol and illegal drugs. Others believe that years of antidrug youth education campaigns have finally begun to work. However, there are some who have an entirely different theory. Are Teens Replacing Drugs with Technology?

Are teens replacing drugs with video games and smart phones?

Could it be that teens are spending so much time plugged into their smartphones, either texting, playing games, or on social media, that there’s no time left for drugs or alcohol? It’s not as farfetched of an idea as you might initially think given that the use of smartphones and tablets have exploded during the same period that teen drug use has declined. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one behavior is the specific cause of the other, but scientists say that interactive media appears to have replaced drug experimentation by providing similar impulses, including sensation-seeking and the desire for independence. It could just be that our interactive gadgets take up a lot of the time that could be used for other activities, including partying and doing drugs or alcohol. Researchers have found that the use of marijuana among 8th and 10th graders is down over the past decade despite its social acceptability being up, and though marijuana use has risen among 12th graders, the use of cocaine, hallucinogens, and ecstasy are all down

On the surface, this sounds like good news. However, some social media critics believe that drug and alcohol use haven’t declined because kids today are behaving better, or are more cautious than they used to be, but because they’re simply spending less time hanging out with their peers, developing their social skills and learning about each other. Instead, teens today are spending more time alone staring at their phones than ever before and are growing more and more socially-isolated. Is social media is serving teens with a dose of interactive methadone? Social media is too new for us really have a grasp on its long-term effects, but several studies over the past few years have shown that it’s abuse has already been linked to depression and insomnia

Have we now reached a point where teenagers have replaced alcohol and illegal drugs with Snapchat and Instagram?

BTRU2U.ORG Featured on NBC & CBS

mother's against drunk driving

BTRU2U.ORG Featured on CBS Miami & NBC

We were fortunate to partner this morning with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the State Attorney’s Office to hold a press conference about our BTRU2U Prevention Campaign.  BTRU2U is a countywide campaign that aims to prevent alcohol and substance abuse and impaired driving. This new partnership provides innovative and evidence based substance abuse prevention programs and strategies that are the foundation of a sustained public health and wellness community model.  Please see the CBSMiami.com article and the NBC News press conference link below.

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With Spring Break for Miami-Dade school students just around the corner, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has launched a new campaign to stress the dangers of drinking and driving.

The BTru2U campaign is a collaboration between MADD, the State Attorney’s Office, and The Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community.

Jenny Reyes, 22, knows the deadly results of drinking and driving first hand.

mother's against drunk driving

On the morning of January 21st, 2015, her father, Walter Reyes, was cycling on the Rickenbacker Causeway, training for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Alejandro Alvarez, 21, was reportedly returning home after a night of drinking on Miami Beach when the accident happened.

“Wednesday morning at this time I was understanding my life had just changed, all the plans we had after 25 years of marriage, all gone that day because of a 21-year-old who should have known better,” said Reyes’ widow Maribel.
“I have forgotten what my father’s laugh sounds like,” said Jenny Reyes, ” he had such a deep, contagious laugh.”
MADD says parents, not peers, are the biggest influence on a young person’s decision to not drink and drive or ride with someone who has been drinking.

“Please remember this, one in three young people admit to getting in a car with a drinking driver,” said MADD’s Helen Witty.

Jenny Reyes and her mother said they share their heartbreaking story to prevent tragedies like there’s from happening.
“We open the wound over and over again because what we are trying to do is to make sure that people understand and realize this is not a video game, there is no do over, you don’t get another life once the choices are made, that is it,” said Jenny Reyes.

One of the big events during this year’s campaign will be PowerTalk 21 Day, April 21st, which is the group’s national day for parents to begin conversations with their kids about alcohol.

Seventy-four percent of kids (8-17) said their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking.

MADD adds that parents must not only talk about the dangers of underage drinking but set a good example by not doing it themselves or with their kids.

A nationwide survey by MADD in 2016 found that 80 percent of parents said they had talked to their children about the dangers of riding with a drinking driver. However, 43 percent of parents admitted to having a drink or two at dinner and then driving their children home in the past year, and one in four parents admitted to riding with a drinking driver in the past year.

A study by Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Biobehavioral Health found that students are more willing to ride with a drinking driver if they see their parents do so.

How Alcohol Affects Teen Athletes

Alcohol Affects Teen Athletes

How Alcohol Affects Teen Athletes

Anyone that has played, or trained for, a major sport understands how difficult training for that sport can be. Teens put in countless hours during the school week running, lifting weights, and practicing plays from the playbook with their coaches. Most of us begin playing sports at an early age simply for the love of the sport. However, for some teens, sports can become an escape from their difficult surroundings, or even a path to a better life for them and their loved ones. As an athlete, your body is your primary piece of equipment. You try to eat right during the school week, you get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and of course, workout. All of these efforts are exactly what is needed to become an elite athlete and make it to the next level. However, after a week of all these efforts, you can’t simply forget about the work that you have put in during the weekend and start partying like rock star. Let’s take a look at how alcohol affects teen athletes and is counterproductive to becoming a great athlete.

How Alcohol Affects Your Body

As an athlete, it’s important that the calories you put into your body are quality calories that are going to help you get faster or stronger. Well, you probably did not know that alcohol is loaded with empty calories that will do nothing but make it harder for you to stay in shape. In just one shot of 80 proof vodka, which is one of the lowest calorie types of alcohol available, there are nearly 100 calories. Not only that, but it literally has no nutrients that will strengthen or fortify your body and actually lowers your workout intensity for days following consumption.

Alcohol is also diuretic. That means that drinking alcohol forces your body to produce more urine and that takes water away from the other parts of your body that need it for hydration, including your muscles. Add exercising to this and you are really increasing your body’s chances of becoming dehydrated. Studies have shown that dehydrated muscle cells provide a less favorable anabolic environment than cells that are over hydrated. This basically means that your muscles not only get weaker from getting drunk, but it also affect your muscle’s ability, even slightly, to recover and strengthen itself. We’ve all heard of testosterone right? It’s associated with males more so than woman because it is the hormone that dictates muscle, hair, and overall physical growth. Male athletes need testosterone to drive muscle growth because increased muscle mass typically leads to better athletic performance. However, athletes that drink alcohol are hurting their bodies ability to build muscle by lowering the testosterone levels in their bodies while intoxicated. Studies have shown that while intoxicated, testosterone levels can decrease up to 25%.

Hopefully the information that we gave you above will provide some insight into exactly how alcohol can affect you as an athlete. If your goal is to make it as an athlete professionally, then it is important that you give yourself every advantage possible, and not drinking alcohol or using drugs is a great way to start.

Michael Phelps: A Comeback Story

Michael Phelps: A Comeback Story

Michael Phelps, the world’s all-time greatest Olympic swimmer, was on top of the world after he broke Mark Spitz’s record of 7 gold medals at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing with 8 gold medals of his own. He showed millions of people that with dedication, hard work, and eating subway sandwiches, you too could turn into someone great. In 2009 however, a photograph surfaced of him smoking marijuana and that was the beginning of a serious downfall that not only saw him lose several of his endorsements, but also affected his ability to focus and perform at the elite level that made him famous.

In an interview with Matt Lauer, Phelps admitted to having to create a front to get through public appearances because deep down he wasn’t truly happy. He would breeze through interviews as if everything was alright, but he knew he had to make a change. He went on to state that he didn’t want anything to do with the sport of swimming, and wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do. As a child, his father divorced his mother and he felt abandoned by him, and because of this, there were very few people that Michael felt he could turn to. Some say that this is when his personal problems really began to escalate.

He mentioned that he would go to parties, get drunk, and hang out with people that loved the idea of hanging out with Michael Phelps, the Olympic hero, but they didn’t really care about Michael Phelps, the person. Those who really cared about him were terrified about the direction that his life was heading in. On September 30, 2014, he was arrested for his second DUI after leaving a casino in Las Vegas. When he got pulled over, he mentioned thinking to himself, “I’m f****d”.

At that point, even his coach and father figure felt that his opportunity to make a comeback, and become “Michael Phelps” again was over. Phelps admitted to even having suicidal thoughts because he didn’t want the world to have to put up with him anymore. Fortunately for Phelps, his friend and soon-to-be mentor, future Hall of Famer football player Ray Lewis, shared some of the dark times that he went through and what he had to do to get through them while he was also in the prime of his career. Ray Lewis, along with others, convinced him to go to rehab and to re-evaluate his life and the choices that he was making.

Phelps learned a lot about himself, and why he constantly turned to drugs and alcohol while he was at rehab. And after reading “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here for” by Rick Warren, he was able to not only rekindle the relationships that his drug and alcohol use had isolated him from, but also the relationship with his father. Phelps also began to re-establish his life and professional goals. He started training hard again with the hopes of returning to the pool and also began a family of his own. All of these life changes helped remind Phelps why he loved swimming so much and what his purpose in life was. It just goes to show you that even though you may make bad decisions in life, you do not have to let them define you. Phelps learned that he was turning to drugs and alcohol to help him deal with stress when there were so many other ways that he could have managed it. This comeback story also shows that when you decide to be dedicated yourself to something, and you are willing to work hard for it, you can accomplish things that maybe you yourself at one point doubted that you could do.

6 Tips to Help Teens Say “No” to Drugs and Alcohol

6 Tips to Help Teens Say “No” to Drugs and Alcohol

Let’s face it, dealing with the peer pressure to drink alcohol or try drugs is not easy. However, if you can stay cool and deliver your position with confidence, you’ll immediately let people know that drugs and alcohol are just not your thing. And never apologize for not being into doing drugs or alcohol either. Apologizing for how you’ve chosen to live your life will give of the impression that you are insecure about your decision to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and will only increase the number of invites that you receive to “get down”. So, if you are not into it, say that, and say it with confidence!

Here are 6 other tips that you can use to help you say “NO” to drugs and alcohol.

1. Blame It on Your Parents or Athletics
One of the best tips to use if someone won’t get off of your back to try drugs or alcohol is to blame it on your parents. Tell them that every time you drink, your mom always finds out and you end up getting into big trouble. Or, if you are into sport and athletics, tell them that you are in the middle of training, or the season, and drugs and alcohol are going to hold you back from accomplishing your goals.
2. Keep a Cup in Your Hand During the Party
If you are holding a cup, people are usually not concerned with what you’re drinking. As a matter of fact, they are probably more concerned with what they’re drinking, or about to drink next. Before you leave for the party, grab a bottle of water, soda, or whatever your favorite bottled drink is and take it with you. When you get to the party, grab a red solo cup and fill it with the contents of the bottle that you brought when nobody’s looking and viola. Having a cup in your hand like everyone else will keep people from asking you why you aren’t drinking.
3. Use the Situation to Educate
If the situation allows for it, this may be the perfect time to educate your peer(s) as to why their use of drugs and alcohol is a terrible idea. Explain to them that drinking alcohol before the age of 21 can have dramatic effects on their brain’s development. Let them know that using drugs affects the chemical balance of their brains and can have irreparable mental and developmental effects.
4. Tried it Already, and It’s Just Not My Thing
Letting them know that you’ve already tried it takes away the awkwardness of telling them that you don’t want to partake in using drugs or alcohol with them, and instead shifts the focus to why you don’t like it.
5. Become the Resident Designated Driver
If you are always volunteering to be the designated driver, no one will argue with the fact that you chose not to drink so that you could be the responsible who drives everyone around.
6. If Everything Else Fails, Just Leave
If you have tried everything above, and you are still being asked to try drugs or alcohol, then the best thing for you to do is to remove yourself from the people, and surroundings, that might force you into making a bad decision. If you find yourself in situations like this often, then you may want to start hanging out with a different set of friends that have similar values and beliefs as you do.

Ultra Music Festival Safety Information

BTru2U – Ultra Music Festival Safety Information

It’s almost that time of year again where the music will be as lively as ever in South Florida. BTru2U, MADD and the Miami Coalition want to remind you to have fun, but most importantly, please make sure that you make good decisions and stay safe.

While at the music festival, please make sure to work your way towards the DanceSafe Organization program and educate yourself with the services that they will be providing before hitting the dance floor. Their informational health discussions will help you make better lifestyle choices while you’re partying and having fun. Here are some of the services they will be providing for party goers:
• Free ear plugs
• Fact based information on drug effects
• Free water to prevent dehydration and heatstroke
• Educated conversations about health, drug use, and safety
• Nonjudgmental first-point of contact for risky or challenging situations
• Drug checking service to prevent overdose

The Electronic Music Alliance will also be there, overlooking the festival to make sure that all of the event attendees are safe and far from harm’s way. They promote safety among the EDM community in hopes of preventing the types deaths and tragedies that have occurred during past music festivals. Like you, they also love to have fun at these events. However, while everyone is enjoying themselves, they will be there to promote the responsibilities that you have as a partygoer to be as civil and socially responsible as possible.

The Mutual Aid Response Service will be at Ultra Music Festival also to provide risk management services during the event. They will be attending to make sure the party goers receive any necessary medical assistance for onsite emergencies. They are committed to supporting the event goers and helping your fellow music lovers stay away from any potential accidents that could occur during the event. MARS will there as well, providing fire services in the case of any first response emergencies.

We want you to stay informed and safe during the days of the upcoming music festivals. While at these events, always make sure that you are aware of your surroundings. Do not take any drinks or pills that someone may offer you. Pills like molly and ecstasy are often portrayed in the media as a popular cause of death during electronic music festivals. So remember that you are there to have fun, but you also have an obligation, and responsibility, to keep yourself and others safe. By becoming better educated about what these substances are, and what they can do to your body, it will help to deter you from wanting to use drugs and/or alcohol. Please, do not hesitate to rely on the services that these organizations are there to provide to you if you need them. It might just mean the difference between life or death.

It is possible to enjoy yourself at Ultra, and the other large music festivals, without having to use drugs or drink alcohol. Just make smart decisions and stay safe while you are doing it.

The New ‘Ecstasy” and What to Look Out For

The New ‘Ecstasy” and What to Look Out For

If you’ve ever heard your teen talk about “Molly”, chances are he or she wasn’t talking about a friend at school. You may have even heard them singing lines from their favorite Hip Hop song glorifying its use. However, there is nothing about Molly that’s positive or worthy of glorification.

Molly is the powder form of MDMA, the active ingredient in another popular party drug, ecstasy. Molly is a synthetic, psychoactive substance that produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, and empathy towards.

Along with altering one’s perception of time, there are a few other symptoms/signs to be on the lookout for so that you can be aware if your teen is using this dangerous drug.

• Dehydration
• Mood swings
• Jaw clenching
• Memory loss
• Loss of appetite
• Increased anxiety
• Profuse sweating
• Dramatic swings in body temperature
• Signs of depression, or sadness
• Isolation during periods of crashing
• Changes in behavior, grades and/or friends

Molly works by telling the brain to release a flood of mood-regulating chemicals through the stimulation of three of the bodies main neurotransmitters, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters, when depleted, is what causes the feeling of depression or sadness. Frequent users of the drug tend to experience long periods of depression or isolation, and study after study has shown why. After time, the body’s ability to regulate the flow of these transmitters is severely diminished to increase efficiency. The way your body sees it, why should it have to

If your teen begins to exhibit any of the physical symptoms listed above, they should be brought to the emergency room immediately. These physical side effects can have permanent effects on their bodies and can even cause deaths from seizures or cardiac arrest. Keep an eye out for any of the following signs of overdose, tremors, vomiting, collapsing, fainting or loss of body movement control, and/or foaming at the mouth.
Be as proactive as possible when it comes to having ongoing conversations with your teen(s) about the consequences of drug use. Talk to them about their goals. Keep up with their grades and ask how they’re doing in school. These conversation help build comfort and trust, and is a vital part of the process of establishing accountability and responsibility for their choices and behavior. Set clear expectations for them so that everyone is on the same page. And if they make a mistake, have empathy. Don’t react with anger. Take a deep breath and think about exactly how to communicate to them that their choices have consequences and re-establish your expectations.

It’s important to be prepared for any leftfield responses that you might hear when you speak with your teen. So, that rather than being reactionary to something that they say, having a well thought out response will allow you respond in a way that will keep your teen engaged. When they’re leaving the house, ask them where they’re going, who they’re going with, and what they’re doing. Make sure on the way out, that you remind them to make good choices.

If you know someone who is abusing drugs and needs help, don’t let another day go by. Call 1 (800) 731-6306 and let’s get them the help that they need today.