Drug abuse is an excessive use of illegal drugs which are harmful to the body. These days, it is an act commonly found amidst teenagers and children. Alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and tobacco are the drugs most commonly abused by adolescents, followed by marijuana. Be aware, these drugs are usually taken for non medicinal reasons such as for mind-altering effects.
Drug abuse can lead to physical and mental damage. Drug abuse can impact the brain’s ability to function in the short term as well as prevent proper growth and development in the long term. So it is important that we pay close attention and observe our wards regularly.
Child drug abuse is not to be taken for granted. It calls for immediate attention and support of the child especially by their parents. Over the years, lots of parents fight the risk of drug abuse and addiction on their children. Child drug abuse has been one of the societal-problems for a long time due to the health consequences, challenges, and loss of lives amongst young children and teenagers all over the world.
Early warning signs of an addiction are intense. While a person may not show every sign listed below, it is common that they will struggle with enough of them to be noticeable by a friend or family member.
● Not being able to recall events after drinking (also called blackouts)
● Repeated conflicts with family members, friends or co-workers
● Recurring episodes of mood swings, depression or feeling irritable
● Using alcohol on a regular basis to relax
● Using alcohol to improve mood and sleep
● Sudden weight loss or gain
● Appetite or sleeping pattern change
It is very important for parents to notice minute changes in their children as stated above. This requires a commitment to observe their wards for changes in terms of social behavior and biological changes. Based on empirical judgment and research, there are different factors that contribute to why teenagers indulge in the abuse of drug and some of them include:
• To feel accepted
• Due to easy access to substances
• To feel good and relax
• To enhance/boost their confidence
• Experimental purpose.
With a good chance of identifying the reasons why children indulge in the abuse of drugs, it is important to know how to prevent it as a parent.
Ways to prevent child drug abuse
• Communication: Parents should be responsible for having a close relationship, and good communication with their wards. It gives an edge into knowing what activities their kids partake in when the children are out of sight.
• Identify warning signs: Sudden changes in physical appearance, eating habit, sleep routine and academic performances are red flags parents should look out for.
• Drug control at home: Tracking every drug prescription at home is a very vital responsibility of a parent in order to have good information about how the drugs are being used.
• Set a good pace: As a parent, your child/children are a reflection of you. Therefore, there is a big chance that they will do what they see you doing. Therefore, do not use drugs that are not prescribed by doctors, and responsibly use prescribed medications.
• Rules and consequences: Setting rules as a family would help in creating a pattern of lifestyle for your children. Explain why they should stay away from social gatherings where illicit drugs are being used and establish consequences if those rules are broken.
First-time use of illicit drugs by children are mostly found in social settings like when parents take their children to adult gatherings, with easily accessible substances, such as alcohol and cigarettes. It is important that children stay away from adult social gatherings as they are likely to be exposed to alcoholic drinks and different acts exhibited by adults. Parents should also be sanctioned by social welfare officials if a case is reported to them. Parents should be seen serving punishments such as community service (punishment that can be noticed by the children) if they fail to adhere to the terms and conditions given to them.
It is never too soon to start talking to children about drug abuse. The conversations you have today can help your teen make healthy choices in the future.