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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Guide

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Guide

Stop before it starts, and living a healthy lifestyle will be a much easier goal. Read on for tips on how to prevent yourself and your loved ones from falling into the depths of drug and alcohol addiction.

Everyone is Prone to Addiction

The prevention of drug abuse in today’s society is a long and arduous battle. Drugs are everywhere and are not limited to one geographic area or one demographic profile; abuse can be found in the suburban housewife, the quiet kid in the classroom, the Hollywood movie star, the successful businessman or a grandparent. Drug addiction can come from commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals or illegal street drugs. The key to preventing drug abuse, however, is education. It is critical to gather as much information as possible so that you can be prepared to do your part to prevent substance abuse in your family. No one is immune to the dangers of drug addiction, so we all must be alert and prepared with a substance abuse prevention plan.

Millions of families are affected by drug abuse. In the United States alone, drug abuse is credited with 40 million serious illnesses or injuries each year. This number is not limited to socioeconomic status, race, or culture. We often think of adolescents when we think of drug abuse, but it is extremely common among adults as well. Drug abuse is attributed to several things: family history, mental illness, untreated physical pain, and peer pressure, to name a few. Drug abuse is a learned behavior that can quickly evolve into a vicious and deadly cycle.

A Few Easy Steps

Substance abuse prevention is not difficult.  A few simple steps can save you or loved one years of agony.  For instance, if you’ve sustained an injury make sure to visit a doctor instead of self-medicating. For parents, prevention starts with you.  Have an open and honest conversation with your children about the dangers of drug abuse and addiction.  And never underestimate the power of family – family bonding is a strong weapon in drug abuse prevention, as is good parenting.  Establishing rules and guidelines at an early age, while keeping the lines of communication open, are powerful prevention tools. Monitoring and supervision along with education greatly reduce the chances of drug abuse among adolescents.  Substance abuse prevention is not finished after one talk with your children, it takes on-going communication and persistence to ensure their health and safety.

Recognizing the Risk Factors

Knowing the risk factors is also very important in the prevention of substance abuse. Risk factors change with age and proactive prevention is needed at every stage of child development. Active behavioral modification may be needed as early as preschool or kindergarten for children exhibiting certain risk factors. These risk factors include genetic predisposition, poor development of social skills, academic failures, and/or problems with adjusting to the transition of attending school. Addressing these signs early can reduce the risk of drug abuse later in life.

A few simple steps can save you or loved one years of agony.

Knowing the signs of drug abuse can also aid you in substance abuse prevention. If you can’t stop your children from trying drugs once, you may be able to stop them from trying drugs twice.  Attentiveness to their academics, extra-curricular activities, and group of friends is important in identifying the signs of substance abuse. Some common signs include irritability, extreme calmness or looking “spaced out”, depression, excessive sleep or very little sleep, and extreme weight loss or weight gain. There may also be a sudden difference in school performance or a new circle of friends that may signal the beginning stages of drug use. You should keep an eye open for drug paraphernalia as well. Paraphernalia can take simple forms, like that of a cut straw, a pipe or a rod, a pack of cigarette papers, a poster, a t-shirt, or a strip of aluminum foil. Don’t hesitate to question any of these things. Just pay attention and be involved.

The emotional risk factors that coincide with drug abuse can be the hardest to deal with. Someone that is depressed or afflicted with mental illness is more likely to turn to drugs. Drugs offer a person battling depression or anxiety a temporary euphoria and a much-needed sense of well-being. If you are dealing with an adolescent battling depression or anxiety please seek professional help along with your own preventative measures. Doctors, counselors, and support groups are available for adolescents and their families struggling with these issues.

Joining Forces

It’s important to remember that you are not alone in your quest to prevent drug abuse, team up with neighbors, relatives, teachers and other adults that interact with your children.  Chances are, other parents are just as concerned as you are and are willing to take the extra steps to ensure everyone’s well-being.

In today’s culture preventing drug abuse is not an easy task, nor is it a single event, it’s being proactive, persistent and attentive. So arm yourself with information, weigh your risk factors, make a plan, watch for warning signs, act swiftly when necessary, and have support each step of the way. Drug abuse is a terrifying problem that affects us all, preventing abuse is the first step.

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