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Parents in the Dark

March 6, 2014

Survey says parents underestimate risks of kid’s alcohol/drug use

PLYMOUTH, Minn., March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As youth drug and alcohol abuse continues to grow, many parents say they are uninformed — and largely unconcerned — about the threat to their children.

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So finds a new nationwide survey commissioned by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the nation’s largest nonprofit addiction treatment provider.

“These startling findings suggest that some parents are under-concerned about the dangers of alcohol and other drug use by their children and are overly confident they would recognize signs of their children’s use,” said Audrey Klein, PhD, executive director of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Butler Center for Research. “This is particularly worrisome given the consequences of teen alcohol and other drug abuse — including poor performance in school, a higher rate of accidents, unintentional overdoses, violence, sexual trauma and legal issues — and, unfortunately in some cases, even death.”

“Research has shown that parental involvement is an effective way to prevent chemical use and addiction among youth,” continued Klein. “Yet this national survey revealed a remarkable lack of parental awareness and concern about this important issue.” Among the key findings of the poll are:

    --  Lack of concern by most parents. Nearly six in 10 (59.2%) parents of
        youth ages 12 to 24 say that they are not concerned about their
        children's possible use or abuse of alcohol or other drugs. This despite
        government surveys showing illicit drug use among teenagers remains
        high.
    --  Easy access to drugs and alcohol. One in four homes reports having
        prescription painkillers (opioids) in unlocked cabinets or accessible to
        their children. More than half of the homes surveyed (54.4%) have
        alcohol out in the open.
    --  False sense of knowledge. Even though almost eight in 10 (78.9%) parents
        think they have adequate education about child alcohol and other drug
        abuse, on average they could name only two warning signs out of 38
        commonly known indications.
    --  Don't know where to turn for help. Approximately one in five parents
        (18%) admitted they did not know where to turn for help if their child
        is struggling with alcohol or drugs. One in five (20%) said they would
        seek out their primary care physician, yet most physicians are
        uncomfortable discussing alcohol and drug use with patients and feel
        unprepared to adequately diagnose addiction.

Most doctors lack training in identifying substance abuse. Less than 20 percent of primary care physicians consider themselves “very prepared to identify alcohol or drug dependence,” compared to more than 80 percent who are very comfortable diagnosing hypertension and diabetes, according to the National Center on Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Resources are available for parents to educate themselves on how to recognize signs of drug use and discuss the issue with their kids on the Hazelden webpage:

http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/addiction-fact-sheet-plymouth.page

http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/res_talkwithkids.page

The survey of 2,454 parents in the United States was conducted by Q Market Research. Findings have a confidence interval of 95% and a margin of error of +/- 1.9%. For a copy of the report, “A matter of concern: Survey finds parents underestimate risks of alcohol or other drug use,” please visit www.hazelden.org/youth.

In response to the need to help more young people, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has expanded its gender-specific treatment facility for adolescents and young adults in Plymouth, Minnesota by 40 percent. In addition, the Foundation has added youth outpatient treatment programs and provides free recovery coaching for parents after their child has been discharged as well as a social community with support groups for parents.

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. It is the nation’s largest nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. With 15 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas, the Foundation offers recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults. It includes the largest recovery publishing house in the country, a fully-accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, an education arm for medical professionals and a unique children’s program, and is the nation’s leader in advocacy and policy for treatment and recovery. Learn more at www.hazeldenbettyford.org.

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SOURCE Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation


Source: PR Newswire



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