Prevention Strategies for Parents, Educators, and Communities
As a parent, educator, or concerned community member, it’s important to be proactive in preventing drug use among teenagers. Teen drug use has a variety of consequences for the teen’s mental and physical health, family well-being, and public safety. Prevention is one of the most effective evidence-based strategies for countering teen substance use. There are a number of prevention strategies that can help reduce the prevalence of drug abuse in this age group.
- Educate teens about the dangers of drug use: It’s important for teens to understand the risks associated with drug use, including the potential for addiction, overdose, and negative impacts on their physical and mental health. Providing accurate and age-appropriate information about drugs can help teens make informed decisions about drug use.
- Encourage open communication: Encourage teens to talk to you about their thoughts and feelings on drug use, and be open to listening without judgment. This can help create a safe space for teens to ask questions and share their concerns.
- Foster a positive and supportive home environment: A stable and supportive home environment can help protect teens from the temptation to turn to drugs. Encourage positive behaviors, such as volunteering and participating in extracurricular activities, and provide a safe and structured environment in which teens can grow and develop.
- Encourage involvement in extracurricular activities: Participation in sports, music, art, or other extracurricular activities can provide teens with a sense of purpose and belonging, which can help protect against drug use.
- Promote healthy coping mechanisms: Help teens develop healthy ways of dealing with stress and other challenges, such as exercising, practicing relaxation techniques, or talking to a trusted adult.
- Set clear expectations and boundaries: Establishing clear rules and consequences for drug use can help prevent teens from experimenting with drugs. Make sure teens understand that drug use is not acceptable and explain the potential consequences of drug use.
- Get involved in the community: Join local coalitions or organizations working to prevent drug use among teens. This can provide an opportunity to learn about community resources and participate in drug prevention efforts.
Preventing drug use among teens is an ongoing process that requires the efforts of parents, educators, and community members. By using a combination of the strategies outlined above, it is possible to help reduce the prevalence of drug abuse among teenagers and keep them safe and healthy.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides information on drug prevention for teens and young adults, including tips for parents and educators: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/preventing-drug-misuse-addiction-best-strategy
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information on the role of parents in preventing drug use among teenagers: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/protective/factsheets/parental_monitoring_factsheet.htm
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a number of resources on drug prevention for teens, including a searchable database of evidence-based prevention programs: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/prevention
Drug Free Clubs of America is on a mission to reduce the impacts of drug use in youth. Across the nation, drug and alcohol use is on the rise among teens. We provide students with practical tools and techniques to navigate peer pressure and choose a healthy lifestyle. Partnering with schools and communities, we offer preventative programming to meet students where they are. Through randomized drug testing, educational resources, a positive outlet, and a supportive community, we are changing school cultures and reducing alcohol, marijuana, vaping, and other detrimental activities among our members and the entire school body. Drug Free Clubs of America has over 5,000 student and faculty/staff members and Clubs in over 50 schools in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.