On January 22nd, the National Institute on Drug Abuse launches Drug and Alcohol Awareness week to help educate young people and teenagers about the dangers of substance abuse.
Local organizations such as schools, recreational groups, clubs, and community centers use this week as a way to teach youth how to make better decisions related to drugs and alcohol.
In honor of this event, we at AFC Urgent Care Southlake have provided a set of health facts and safety tips to help your teens understand the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Alcohol consumption presents significant long-term health risks
Your child may already know some of the basic reasons why they shouldn’t drink, but it helps for them to understand that early alcohol use presents serious health risks.
Based on CDC statistics, early alcohol use can lead hospitalizations, car crashes, high-risk societal and behavioral activity, suicide, memory problems, and stagnated development. Later on in life, consistent alcohol consumption and binge drinking can lead to accelerated health consequences including liver disease and alcohol use disorder.
Prevent early alcohol use by setting a no-tolerance policy in your household for underage drinking as well as sitting down with your child about healthcare risks. Explain both the healthcare and behavioral risks of alcohol use, or have a trusted friend or mentor explain.
Have your child trust you to pick them up from potential peer-pressured drinking situations and be open with your child about any situations where drinking may have occurred.
By giving your child the support to open up and talk about, you can help prevent your teenager from becoming an early drinker.
Create awareness of drug use and their known health detriments
Teenagers probably understand that drugs of all kinds pose health and behavioral risks, but they may not be sure just how serious those risks can be.
For example, the Mayo Clinic provides a list of significant health risks based on drugs that are commonly used for recreational use:
- Marijuana use can lead to impaired memory and decreases in problem-solving ability
- Cocaine use leads to an increased risk of heart attack
- E-cigarettes, known as “vaping,” contain harmful substances and can lead to nicotine addiction
- Ecstasy, known as “molly,” may contribute to liver and heart failure
- Opioids can lead to lethal overdose and are already a national public health crisis among children and adults. Opioids include pill form and the street drug heroin.
To help prevent frequent drug use or substance use disorder, make sure to talk to your child about the dangers of high-profile recreational drugs. Additionally, it helps to dispel any myths about drug use or how media influencers may stylize or condone drug use.
Ultimately, the best resource to prevent your child from abusing drugs and alcohol is to sit down and talk with your child. Use this week as an opportunity to keep your child safe and drug-free!