Substance Abuse Talking Points
October is National Substance Abuse Prevention month. Awareness months can be
What is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse is the harmful use of psychoactive substances, this includes alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. Use of these substances can lead to dependency, difficulties controlling use, and a higher priority to the substance than to other activities. The toll for substance abuse is not only to the
Some of the physical signs to be aware of if you suspect your child may be abusing substances are:
- bloodshot eyes
- changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- deterioration of grooming habits
- unexplained injuries
- impaired coordination
- unusual odors
Behavior signs that may indicate substance abuse are:
- skipping class, trouble in school, loss of interest in extracurricular activities
- missing money, valuables, or prescription drugs
- acting silent and withdrawn
suddenchange in relationships
- frequently getting into trouble
- use of incense or perfume to hide other odors
Psychological warning signs of substance abuse include:
suddenchange in personality
- mood changes
- periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation
- lack of motivation
- anxiety or paranoia for no apparent reason
A lot of these warning signs will seem
Prevention and Education
Studies have shown that education and prevention aimed at children and teenagers is the best course to curb substance abuse in general. Explaining to your kids the risks involved when drinking or consuming a substance that impairs
Share your state and local laws with them, remind them that there are criminal penalties for underage consumption of substances. For example, even if marijuana is legal in your state, that is only for people 21 and older; furthermore, it is still illegal on the federal level. Additionally, the consumption of illegal substances has a negative impact on a developing brain. Cannabis use by teens has been linked to abnormal changes in brain structure related to memory and the earlier a teen starts smoking the worse the effects on the brain.
How to Say No
But it is not always easy to just say no.
Suggestions for how to say no include:
- No, thanks. I’m allergic to alcohol on my mom’s side.
- My dad used to smoke pot when he was in college, and now he can smell it from a mile away. Can’t do it.
- Hey man, don’t drive if you’ve been drinking. Let’s call my parents, they’ll be cool. They’d rather pick us up here than jail.
- That’s OK, I’m trying to quit.
- I really can’t, I’ve too much to do tomorrow. Can’t be hung over and run laps for
Remind your kid that you expect them to find ways to say no and to not abuse substances, but that you will always be there for them if and when they mess up. Explain that you do not condone such behavior, but that you are willing