The more we come to understand the nature of substance use disorders, the more effective rehabilitation becomes. Our staff has witnessed the power of detox and therapy as we’ve walked alongside our clients through their recovery journey. We know that it’s possible for those suffering from substance use disorders to reach the other side of addiction.
But the truth is that recovery isn’t a simple “happily ever after.” Even though many of our clients go on to lead extraordinary lives after their treatment, there is no cure for substance use disorders.
Sobriety is a commitment those in recovery must make each day, and it isn’t always easy. In fact, 85% of people relapse within the first year after leaving treatment.
At Alo House Recovery Centers, we take pride in the role we play in the lives of our clients and in the recovery community. We believe in the work we do and understand the importance of therapeutic methods in treating substance use disorders. And above all, we believe that recovery is possible.
Even though we know that there is life after addiction, we also understand the importance of prevention. October 23 to 31 is Red Ribbon Week, an annual campaign about drug prevention and education. Led by the National Family Partnership, Red Ribbon Week is an initiative dedicated to nurturing a drug-free youth.
It is the intention of the National Family Partnership drug prevention initiatives to make an impact on young adults through education, and deterring them from using substances in hopes of a drug-free future.
By partnering with local communities, spreading awareness, advocating to government officials, and offering educational resources, NFP has mobilized young people all over the nation in the cause against substance use.
Young Adults and Addiction
Preventative campaigns such as Red Ribbon Week target our nation’s youth, and for good reason. While all age groups are susceptible to addiction, many substance use disorders take root during adolescence.
It is not uncommon for teenagers to experiment with drugs and alcohol, but for some, this can lead to a life of struggle.
While there are a wide range of reasons children and teenagers may begin using substances, there are some common environmental risk factors:
- Exposure to drugs
- History of abuse
- Peer pressure
- Lack of supervision
Along with environmental factors are internal factors such as:
- Low self-esteem
- Mental health issues
- Uneducated attitude about drugs
While these risk factors may not always be avoidable, education can play a major role in the prevention of substance abuse.
What Can Parents Do to Prevent Drug Addiction?
Initiatives like Red Ribbon Week have made a powerful impact on the way our nation’s youth view substance abuse, but that doesn’t mean that parents aren’t responsible for educating their children.
Negative messaging about drugs and alcohol are particularly effective when they occur at home. We understand that talking to your kids about substance use is not easy, but it may be the difference between your child thriving or someday suffering from addiction.
It’s never too early or too late to start the conversation about drugs and alcohol.
Here are some key things to discuss during each stage of your child’s life.
At this stage in life, it’s important for our kids to understand that they are responsible for taking good care of their bodies by eating healthy, exercising, brushing their teeth, etc.
In teaching them these lessons, there will be opportunities to discuss unhealthy habits and dangerous substances.
Teach them about the risk of consuming foreign things like bleach, household cleaners, and medication that does not belong to them.
Early Elementary Age
Children ages 5 to 8 are entering a time in their lives where they are beginning to explore who they are and what they think.
By asking them questions about drug-related messaging they may be exposed to, you can open the lines of communication on substance use.
In your discussions, set clear rules about substance use while teaching them the basics of problem solving and decision making.
This is the stage in which most children become preoccupied with the opinions of their peers.
During years 9 to 12, some children will be offered drugs or alcohol for the first time, so it’s important to maintain clear rules about substance use while practicing different ways to say no.
Work to combat the insecurity that surfaces at this age by being positive and uplifting. This will promote good self-esteem and worth, two factors that help to prevent substance abuse.
Similar to the preteen years, defined rules and consequences can play a major role in deterring your teenagers from using substances.
Work to combat any negative messaging your child may be receiving from their peers by affirming them and offering positive reinforcement.
Your teen will likely go through anti-drug education programs at school during these years, so be sure to discuss these topics with them at home.
Ask them about what they’re learning and have a conversation about the negative impacts of substance abuse.
Young Adult Age
Once a child turns 18 and moves out of the house, drug prevention may feel out of your control.
However, showing your child your support in their new, independent life will keep the lines of communication open.
Make sure your young adult understands that they can come to you for help, especially when it involves issues such as mental health.