During the teenage years, experimentation with drugs and alcohol can lead to a lifetime of struggles with addiction. However, it is important for you to know that early intervention can help teens to stand up against peer pressure and avoid falling prey to dangerous substances. It can be hard as a parent to face the possibility that your child could be using drugs.
Finding the right drug prevention program for your child now can make a significant difference in their lifelong health and happiness
Signs a youth needs a drug prevention program
When it comes to drug abuse, no child is immune from the risk. Unfortunately, peer pressure and drugs exist in every school and neighborhood. For this reason, you should be aware of the following signs that point toward drug abuse in youth:
- Mood swings
- New and different social group
- Secretive behavior
- Drop in grades
- Lack of interest in normal activities
- Smelling of marijuana, alcohol or smoke
While these early indicators could mean that your child is just experimenting, other signs could signify a growing problem. Youth who are developing an addiction may begin to steal so that they can fund their habit, or they could fall into trouble with police and school authorities if they are found to be in possession of an illegal substance. Long-term drug use could also manifest as serious health problems, including brain damage and an overdose.
Short-term vs. long-term programs
Once you have determined that your child could benefit from drug prevention programs for youth, you will need to find the right one. Short-Term programs typically last for a few weeks to three months. While this type of program may work for a child who is early in their experimentation, they often are not long enough to be effective. This is because teens come back to their home too quickly and begin to reconnect with their old friends while falling back into their old behavior patterns. Longer programs last at least six months and some extend to a full year. Although this may sound like a long time for your child to be in a program, it offers you and your child the best chances for success. This is why the Teen Risk Resource Center exclusively recommends long-term programs.
What to look for in a program
Drug prevention programs for youth are not all alike, and they can vary significantly in their success rates and techniques. Begin by looking for a program that offers a small group size. This will ensure that your child gets the one-on-one therapy and attention they need to succeed. Therapeutic help should be offered at no additional cost, and you will want to make sure that the majority of clients successfully complete the program.
Narrowing down your options
With so many options available, you might need help narrowing them down to the right program. Consider your child’s needs and current involvement with drugs. Then, use your resources to make sure that the program addresses those needs. You may also need to consider the distance of the treatment center from your home along with the cost.
Taking a proactive stance against drugs in your family is essential for your child’s well-being. When your child has begun to show signs of drug use, it is important to take action right away. Through careful research and the use of every available resource, you can guide your child in the right direction with the best drug prevention program available for your youth.