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Parents make a difference in their kids abusing pot, alcohol, drugs

A recent SAMHSA study confirms that kids are many times less likely to use drugs when they know that their parents would disapprove of that behavior.

Put another way, in terms of marijuana use alone, kids are 6 times more likely to use pot simply because of a parental attitude of indifference towards marijuana use.

Given the huge difference in outcomes, is there any other drug education program that can achieve this kind of result? Of course not. Parents are on the front lines of prevention and need to understand that their attitudes about drug use are a key factor in decisions made by their children.

I am often approached by concerned parents who are desperately seeking the solution to keeping their kids drug-free in a drug-filled world. The answer is always the same: love your kids enough to take a strong stand against drug use, communicate your values consistently and regularly to your children, surround your children with other caring adults and youth who possess similar values, and live the way you teach.

Does parental involvement guarantee that a child will not be influenced by a culture that is awash in drug propaganda? No, but it will give that child the best chance for a drug-free life.

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 26 (UPI) — More than 1-in-5 parents say they have little influence in preventing teens from using illicit substances, but surveys prove them wrong, a U.S. agency says.

A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found 22 percent of U.S parents of children ages 12-17 said they had little influence on whether or not their child uses illicit substances, tobacco or alcohol.

The annual survey involved 67,500 Americans age 12 or older.

Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of SAMHSA, said national surveys of youths 12-17 show those who believe their parents would strongly disapprove of their substance use were less likely to use substances. For example, 5 percent of current marijuana users said their parents would strongly disapprove of their trying marijuana once or twice versus 31.5 percent of current marijuana who did not perceive this level of parental disapproval.

“Surveys of teens repeatedly show that parents can make an enormous difference in influencing their children’s perceptions of tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drug use,” Hyde said in a statement. “Although most parents are talking with their teens about the risks of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, far too many are missing the vital opportunity these conversations provide in influencing their children’s health and well-being. Parents need to initiate age-appropriate conversations about these issues with their children at all stages of their development in order to help ensure that their children make the right decisions.”


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