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Talking to Teenagers about Drugs

As a parent, you’re going to need to talk to your teen about drugs. Drugs are easy to obtain, and most teenagers will be in their presence at some point. When that time comes, you want your child to be one of the ones who bravely rejects the offer. There’s a lot of bad information about narcotics out there, and if you don’t tell your teenager about drugs, someone else will. And that someone might not have your child’s best interests in mind.

Talk to your teenager about drugs, and do it soon. There are many things to discuss: peer pressure, alcohol, intoxicated driving, and various dangers. Here some important topics to touch on during your conversation.

Peer Pressure

Teenagers tend to think in groups. If Louie, Cindy, Doug, and Becky are passing around a joint, chances are that Johnny will take a hit. Even if he doesn’t really want to. That’s according to research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In NIDA’s study, people were much more likely to engage in risky behavior when in the presence of their peers.

When discussing peer pressure with your teen, remind them of the benefits of defying groups. Teenagers like to pride themselves on their independence. Emphasize how group thinking and conformity is often, ironically, at the root of this supposedly rebellious act. Teach by example, perhaps by talking about situations in your own life in which you refused to follow a crowd, things ended well for you. And if the philosophical approach doesn’t work, remind them that, according to our New Jersey friend and criminal defense lawyer, Anthony J. Vecchio, drugs puts your very freedom at risk.

Alcohol

Remember that alcohol is a drug. It’s a legal drug, sure, but it’s a drug nonetheless. Discuss the risks associated with alcohol, including the following:

  • Alcohol is dangerous all on its own. Drunk driving is not the only danger of drinking. Alcohol poisoning presents a huge risk to teenagers because young people tend to binge drink. When consumed in large quantities—and for teenagers, who are inexperienced and have small bodies, large quantities might not seem so large at first glance—alcohol is a deadly toxin.
  • Alcohol leads to bad decisions. Alcohol wrecks your judgment. While under its influence, teenagers are far more likely engage in unprotected sex, accidentally start fires, or trip and hurt themselves. Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to bad decisions.
  • Alcohol is addiction. People who begin drinking as teens are much more likely to become alcoholics later in life.

When talking with your child, remind them that alcohol is dangerous and, for people under 21, illegal. The teen years may be a good time for people to make some kinds of mistakes without permanent consequences, but drunk driving is not one of these erase-able mistakes. Life is not forgiving to drunk drivers.

Drugged Driving is at Least as Bad as Drunk Driving

No activity is safe while intoxicated, but driving is especially dangerous when under the influence of drugs. Your teenager needs to be aware of these dangers.

Teenagers are new to driving. Even under ideal circumstances, they can have trouble keeping things straight and narrow. Tell your child about the risks involved with drugs and driving.

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