DRUG ABUSE

DRUG ABUSE

 

UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGE
Why do youth use drugs?

 
The simple answer is that drugs alter perceptions of reality in ways that often feel pleasant. Drug use may temporarily satisfy emotional or social needs for experimenting young people. Many youth view drugs like a Swiss Army Knife, a tool with many functions: relaxation, pleasure, socialization, avoidance of emotional pain, a way to forget about problems, satisfy curiosity, avoid alienation, find excitement, feel like part of the crowd, go to sleep, wake up, cope with failure, relieve boredom, and /or to simply infuriate their parents. Some people are genetically programmed for difficulties with addictions while others find that curiosity leads to drug dependence and the challenges of dealing with addiction become overwhelming.

DRUG ABUSE

 

UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGE
Why do youth use drugs?

 
The simple answer is that drugs alter perceptions of reality in ways that often feel pleasant. Drug use may temporarily satisfy emotional or social needs for experimenting young people. Many youth view drugs like a Swiss Army Knife, a tool with many functions: relaxation, pleasure, socialization, avoidance of emotional pain, a way to forget about problems, satisfy curiosity, avoid alienation, find excitement, feel like part of the crowd, go to sleep, wake up, cope with failure, relieve boredom, and /or to simply infuriate their parents. Some people are genetically programmed for difficulties with addictions while others find that curiosity leads to drug dependence and the challenges of dealing with addiction become overwhelming.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DRUG USE

  • Unexplained drop in grades
  • Isolates from family
  • Frequent and sudden change in moods
  • Dishonest about whereabouts
  • Dishonest about a lot of things
  • Early cigarette smoking
  • Change in peer groups
  • Often draws pot leaves, drugs, or drug symbols
  • Parental defiance
  • Red, watery, or glassy eyes
  • Uses eye drops to hide red eyes
  • Late or unexplained hours
  • Rejection of parental values
  • Have found unexplained paraphernalia
  • Disappearance of money or possessions
  • Defensive about drug use
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Loss of interest in previous hobbies and activities
  • Unexplained drop in grades
  • Isolates from family
  • Frequent and sudden change in moods
  • Dishonest about whereabouts
  • Dishonest about a lot of things
  • Early cigarette smoking
  • Change in peer groups
  • Often draws pot leaves, drugs, or drug symbols
  • Parental defiance
  • Red, watery, or glassy eyes
  • Uses eye drops to hide red eyes
  • Late or unexplained hours
  • Rejection of parental values
  • Have found unexplained paraphernalia
  • Disappearance of money or possessions
  • Defensive about drug use
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Loss of interest in previous hobbies and activities

PARENT GUIDE

Ask your kids about the amplif(i) presentations they saw at school.
What choices did the speaker make that they can or cannot relate to? What did they learn?

Tell your kids what your family’s position is on alcohol or drugs.
Talk to your spouse, agree on your family’s position, and share that with your kid. Make that position very clear and always remain consistent. Don’t waiver.

Attend one of our adult education presentations.
Discuss with your kid what you have learned about home drug testing kits and the ability to use them at any time. When talking about the issue of trust, make it clear to your kid that you do trust them, and that you are continuing to build trust with them. You trust your kids to succeed at school, yet you wouldn’t follow up by not looking at their report card. Home drug testing kits provide your kids an “out” from negative peer pressure situations; a way to say “no” when their friends are saying “yes.”

Lock up or dispose of your unused or expired prescription medications.
While prescription medications serve a valuable function when used correctly under the supervision of a doctor, they can be harmful and even deadly when abused or used incorrectly. Don’t allow your prescription medications to fall into the hands of your kids or their friends. If you need to keep your prescription medications for a prolonged period of time, purchase a prescription lockbox or other safe to keep your kids from accessing the drugs. If you no longer need the medications, find a prescription drug disposal location near you that will allow you to safely dispose of them. (Arizona Prescription Take Back)

Be clear with your kids that drug use is not acceptable in your family.
Look for opportunities to discuss the physical dangers to your kid’s health that result from drug use. You may also want to discuss the risks and possible catastrophic consequences from poor decisions made while using drugs. Consider setting rules and defined consequences for breaking each rule. Some families write a contract to be sure both the parents and kid clearly understand the expectations and consequences. Consistency with respect to enforcing rules and consequences is cited as a key factor in shaping behavior. Rewards for honoring rules are a great way to reinforce good decision-making. Acknowledging rule following with positive words goes a long way with kids.

Listen to your kid.
If possible, ask your kid an open-ended question to create a two-way conversation about drugs. For example, you may begin with “I received this drug test kit at school tonight, what do you think?” Remember that your tone and the length of your response will impact the discussion. A kid may perceive a long response as a speech not a dialogue. Showing your willingness to listen will make your kid feel more comfortable about opening up to you.

Ask your kid what he or she knows.
Ask a question like, “What have you heard about drugs that is good?” in a non-judgmental, open way. Let your kid answer the question in its entirety. Thank them for the information then take the opportunity to start two-way discussion providing them with correct information. Be sure to have educated yourself prior to this conversation so you can answer all of your kid’s questions. If you don’t know an answer to a question, don’t guess, as you will lose credibility with your kid. Offer to find out or look for the answer together.

Use daily events, such as television shows and news reports, as a conversation starter.
Sharing a local incident with your kid, such as an automobile accident resulting from someone under the influence, may open a discussion and create a way for you to provide your kid with information. You may want to raise an open-ended question about an individual you see on TV who is taking drugs, such as “How would they feel if they were in an accident because they were using drugs? How would their life change?”

Give your kid words to use with their friends if asked to use drugs.
You may consider giving your kid words to have in their mind to use if situations arise where drugs are offered. It will be easier for your kid to respond if they have a few planned phrases and a strategy for leaving the situation. One possible response is “I can’t, my parents will drug test me when I get home, and if I test positive my parents said they will call your parents.”

Teen Lifeline

602-248-TEEN (8336)
Or toll free at
1-800-248-TEEN (8336)

Community Information and Referral Services

602-263-8856
(1-800-352-3792
within area codes 520 and 928)

Maricopa 24-Hour Crisis Hotline

602-222-9444
Across Arizona
1-800-631-1314

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