10 Things to do to Prevent Substance Use Disorder

Are you stumped on how to encourage your child to live a drug free lifestyle?

This informational campaign comes to you in partnership with the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition.

Here are 10 things that the Addiction Policy Forum suggests parents or guardians do to be proactive in preventing substance use disorder later.

Communication and Support
  1. Talk early and often. Children are 50% less likely to use when their parents talk to them about the risks of drugs and alcohol.
  2. Support healthy activities. Belong to something; healthy attachment and prosocial engagement are two key factors that reduce the risk of a child developing an addiction.
Expectations and Consequences
  1. Set clear expectations of no use. Over 80% of children between the ages of 10-18 state that their parents have the most influence on whether or not they consume alcohol.
  2. Establish clear consequences. Specify what the consequence will be if they use drugs or alcohol; conversely, reward them for healthy choices and behaviors.
  3. It’s not your job to be cool. Children need parents that guide them and set clear expectations that will benefit them into adulthood.
  4. Do not provide alcohol or drugs to your teens. Providing alcohol or drugs increases use and other unsafe behaviors.
Engage, Observe, and Act
  1. Pay attention. As they get grow, kids seem to become less dependent and more independent, however, it is important to stay engaged throughout their adolescent years.
  2. Make time for your child. Spending time with family strengthens healthy attachment and has a long-lasting positive impact.
  3. Prioritize sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to serious health issues, making teens more vulnerable to substance use.
  4. Intervene early. If you suspect that your child is using, get help right away, the earlier they are treated the better their outcome.

Some key takeaways are: communicate, spend time, set expectations, and if necessary, get help. The Tuscarawas Anti-Drug Coalition has resources available to help promote a drug-free lifestyle and assist those that are struggling with substance use.

Schanel Harvey


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