When you have a teenage son, there is undoubtedly a lot to worry about. You want to make sure your son gets good grades and stays away from drugs and alcohol, but you also want to make sure he has friends and has a fun time in his teenage years. As a parent, it is your job to be aware of what is going on when you are not around. Does your son associate with kids on drugs? Is your son using methamphetamine drugs, cheapo drugs, prescription drugs or homemade drugs? Are you worried about your son use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport? Does your son know how to make drugs?
It is your job to know the answer to each of these questions. Just so you are aware of how severe the drug usage is among teenagers today, here are five alarming statistics, from Do Something .org, and what you can do about them.
Prescription drugs are your biggest concern; they kill more teens than cocaine and heroin combined.
If you see your son taking any pills, you need to question him and find out what they are for. Does he really need to be taking what he is taking? Medical prescription substance dependence kills more teens than any other drugs. The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport is another concern that you need to watch for if your son is an athlete. He may feel a great deal of pressure to be the best, but you need to make sure he doesn’t turn to drugs to make it happen.
Most kids on drugs get them from school. Over 60% of teenagers admitted that drugs were stored, used, and even sold at school.
If you are worried about your son’s drug use, you may want to check his backpack. Chances are there will be some drugs in there if he is using them. You also need to be good at identifying drugs so that you will recognize them when you see them. Not all drugs, especially homemade drugs, will be easily identifiable.
Teenagers who drink are 50% more likely to try cocaine versus the teenagers who choose not to drink.
Of course you teach your son to don’t do drugs, but you also need to be focusing on not drinking. There is a reason the legal drinking age is 21. Not only is the alcohol destroying your son’s still-developing brain cells, but alcohol is also a gateway to many other illegal substances. If you know your son is drinking you need to be very clear with him just how severe the long-term consequences may be. It is also important to note that people who start drinking younger have a much higher rate of alcohol addiction.
Out of the teens that have abused pain relievers, 64% claim they got them from relatives or friends.
This number is simply shocking. Teenagers should never have access to prescription drugs that were not meant specifically for them. You need to make sure that all of your family understands just how dangerous prescription drugs can be for your son. Not only is it illegal for them to be sharing the drugs with someone they are not prescribed for, it can also be life-threatening for your son. You also want to pay attention to your prescriptions to make sure you still have as much as you are supposed to. Oftentimes, teens will sneak their parents’ prescriptions without them even knowing it. Better yet, hide your prescriptions so your son doesn’t even know where they are.
Only 25% of teens say that their parents have talked to them about the dangers of drugs. However, the teens that do have this discussion are 42% less likely to use the drugs that are discussed.
You may think that your words go in one ear and out the other, but this statistic shows that most kids really are listening. The key is to start young and speak up often. Talking about drugs is not a one-time thing. You need to constantly be mentioning how dangerous drugs are. Drill into your son’s head, “Don’t do drugs!” Make sure he understands that you aren’t just telling him this for the sake of it; that drugs really do have serious side effects that could alter his entire life.
As a parent, you are the best advocate for a drug-free life that your child has. Even if it feels uncomfortable or awkward, you are the parent, and it is your responsibility to make sure your teen is aware of the harmful effects of drugs on his growing body. Sure, the school may have a few discussions about drug use, but they don’t mean anything to teenagers. You, on the other hand, can have a big impact on your son. He has been looking up to you his entire life and he wants to make you proud. Your words mean so much more than any guidance counselor’s or teacher’s words. Just make sure those words are spoken.