Talking To Your Teen About Substance Abuse Can Help
May 27, 2013

Despite Doubts, Parents Can Prevent Teens’ Drug Use By Speaking To Them

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Even though more than one-fifth of all parents believe they have little influence when it comes to preventing their teenage sons and daughters from using illegal drugs, new research suggests that they are one of the most influential factors when it comes to preventing substance abuse.

The report, which comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), shows that 22.3 percent of all parents believe that speaking with their teens about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs has little effect, said Cathy Payne of USA Today.

As a result, 9.1 percent of all parents said that they had not discussed illicit drug use or substance abuse-related issues with their 12-to-17-year-old children during the past year, Payne added. However, "national surveys of teens who believe their parents would strongly disapprove of their substance use were less likely to use substances than others," the agency reported.

“Surveys of teens repeatedly show that parents can make an enormous difference in influencing their children´s perceptions of tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drug use,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a statement.

“Although most parents are talking with their teens about the risks of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, far too many are missing the vital opportunity these conversations provide in influencing their children´s health and well-being,” she added. “Parents need to initiate age-appropriate conversations about these issues with their children at all stages of their development in order to help ensure that their children make the right decisions.”

The report said that current marijuana use was less prevalent among teenagers who believed that their parents would be strongly opposed to their plans to try pot once or twice (5.0 percent) than among 12-to-17-year-olds who did not believe that their moms and dads would vehemently disapprove (31.5 percent). Those results are based on SAMHSA´s annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health of 67,500 Americans at least 12 years old.

“Any time is a good time to talk to your kids when you have a chance, but if you haven't started talking to your kids, before school gets out is an especially good time,” SAMHSA´s Peter Delany, Director of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, told Payne. “In the summer months, especially around holiday weekends, kids are more likely to get involved with substances.”