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Preventing Teen Substance Abuse

No parent wants to see their child struggle with addiction recovery, no matter what their age, but it can be very difficult for parents of teenagers to confront their child’s substance abuse, especially if they conclude that their child needs the assistance of a drug and alcohol rehab facility.

We have noted before that even though teens like to act as if the don’t care what their parents think, parental involvement goes a long way towards preventing teen substance abuse.

An article on disputes the conclusions of a study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) on the connections between teen drug and alcohol abuse and social media, saying “Sorry, You Can’t Blame Social Networks for Teen’s Drinking and Drugging”. After gathering data from a survey CASA Columbia concluded “American teens who spend any time on social networking sites are more likely to drink, smoke, and take drugs.” Reality shows like Teen Mom, Jersey Shore and 16 and Pregnant, as well as cyber-bullying were also pinpointed as factors in teen substance abuse.

PC World comments:

“The CASA study makes for great headlines, but are social networks really a significant contributor to teen substance abuse?

After all, drinking and drugging among the 12-to-17 crowd is strongly influenced by a variety of maladies that predate Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, including (in no particular order): Peer pressure, boredom, familial conflicts, history of family substance abuse, depression, experimentation, and good, old-fashioned parental neglect.”

The teen years can be very difficult and teens, like people of all ages, are less likely to rely on drugs and alcohol to cope with the challenges of life if they feel they have a strong support system. While it is true that strong family and social ties cannot prevent all addiction, these things can go a long way toward helping teenagers feel better about themselves. And teens that find that they cannot resist the temptation to abuse drugs or alcohol may fare better with sobriety if they have people that they can rely on.