Kathy Sena is a freelance journalist who has written for Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, Woman’s Day and many other publications. She blogs about parenting at http://www.parenttalktoday.com.
As I was finishing writing this post, my 12-year-old son wandered into the office, and the photo and headline here grabbed his attention. We ended up having a really good chat about kids and drugs. You never know when and where these opportunities will arise! It pays to keep an eye out for those teachable moments. OK, back to the post:
Parents who don’t monitor their kids’ school-night activities, safeguard their prescription drugs, address the problem of drugs in their kids’ schools, and set good examples increase the risk that their teens will smoke, drink, and use illegal and prescription drugs.
That’s the word from the 13th annual back-to-school survey conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
The survey found that the later teens are out of the house hanging out with friends on school nights, the more likely they are to be involved with alcohol and drug use.
46 percent of 12- to 17-year olds report leaving their house to hang out with friends on school nights. Among these teens:
° 50 percent who come home after 10:00 p.m. say that drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana or other drug use occurs.
° 29 percent who come home after 8:00 p.m. and before 10:00 p.m. say that drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana or other drug use occurs.
For the first time in the CASA survey’s history, more teens said prescription drugs were easier to buy than beer (19 vs. 15 percent). Almost half (46 percent) of teens say painkillers are the most commonly abused prescription drug among teens.
When teens who know prescription drug abusers were asked where those kids get their drugs:
° 31 percent said from friends or classmates
° 34 percent said from home, parents or the family medicine cabinet
° 16 percent said other
° 9 percent said from a drug dealer
Talking with your child about drug and alcohol abuse, safeguarding the family medicine cabinet (including keeping a count of pills that might be abused) and setting family rules and curfews can all help prevent teen drug and alcohol abuse.
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