Drug addiction is not only a problem among adults. It is also a concern among children and teens. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that in a study conducted in 2015,10.1 percent of children, 12 years old and older, in the United States, admitted to having used illicit drugs during the past month. Meanwhile, 2.4 percent of the same age group shared that they took psychotherapeutic medicine without prescription in the previous month.

 On the other hand, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in its Monitoring the Future Survey: High School and Youth Trends released in December 2017, that there was a significant decrease in the number of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who used illicit drugs (excluding marijuana) during the past year. Compared to the 13.1 percent of 8th graders in 1996, it was only 5.8 percent last year. For the 10th graders, it was 18.4 percent in 1996, but down to 9.4 percent last year. For the 12th graders, it was 21.6 in 2001 but was 13.3 percent in the latest figure.

 Why are children involved in substance abuse? What could be the reasons behind this?

 Common Reasons for Drug Addiction

 Here are some of the most common reasons why children get into drug addiction:

  1.  They feel bored. When boredom strikes, some children and teens are unable to handle it. And that is the time when they feel the urge to do something that would ease such feeling. By doing so, they could find a group they can associate themselves with.
  2. They are being rebellious. Teenagers are considered complicated. This condition probably explains why they could not explain themselves at some point. They tend to hate being home. They also have the tendency to hate their family, particularly their parents, for being strict, among other things. Thus, they turn to drugs and develop addiction eventually.

  3.  They love the immediate effect of drugs. When under the influence of prohibited substances, children and teens could instantly experience the effect of being high. They immediately feel happy upon taking them.
  4. They become confident with drugs. Children and teens who are usually shy may abuse drugs because they help them become confident and have the courage to face their fear.

  5. They follow what they see. With the popularity of technology and social media, these young people may get the idea that doing drugs is normal. In short, it is advised that their online activities must be monitored.

Preventing Addiction: The Parents’ Role

Prevention is always better than treatment. Rather than bringing a child or teen to a drug addiction rehabilitation center, it would be better to adopt ways on how to prevent them from doing so.

Below are several steps to save children and teens from drug addiction:

  1. Point out the negative effects of substance abuse: As parents, it is best that children are aware of how drugs could ruin their lives. They must be reminded every now and then of why they should not try getting into drug addiction.

  2. Observe parental guidance when they watch or listens to programs that feature substance abuse:Children and teens must be guided whenever they see or hear something about this sensitive topic. It must be explained to them why such a scene was part of the show.

  3. Be privy of their activities: Having an idea of what they are up to can be the most effective way to guard them against drug addiction. Monitor their activities. Know where they are going and who they will be with whenever they leave the house.

  4. Win their trust:Raising children and teens is not an easy task. It takes much effort to make them follow their parents. However, when they feel that they have their parents’ support and that they can trust them, opening up and sharing their whereabouts would never be difficult for them to do.

  5. Be a good example. Never get engaged in drug abuse:It is often said that young people have greater chances of remembering something if they see it, rather than just hearing about it. In short, parents must be their role models.

  6. Set rules. Strictly implement them:Discipline is key in saving children and teens from drug addiction. If there are rules to follow, there must be corresponding consequences for violating them. Parents must be consistent when imposing rules at home.

  1. Know their circles: Parents should make sure that they know their children’s friends. This will help in finding out if the people they spend time with are into drugs or not.

  1. Guide them on how to fight peer pressure: Parents must discuss with their children how not to fall victims of peer pressure. As curious as they are, there is a chance that children and teens would easily get influenced to go into drug use.