Expert Advice on Protecting Teens from Drug Abuse

Happy teenage daughter sitting with father - drug abuse talk.

As drug and alcohol abuse grows and become a more serious problem in all fifty states, this is something that garners more worry and concern from parents. And not without good reason either. While the early and mid-2000s saw a drop in teen and young adult substance abuse, the last five years have seen nothing but increases in the teen and young adult drug abuse scene. Sadly, young people are now more at risk from drug and alcohol abuse than they perhaps ever were.

With information assailing the news and reaching parents’ ears constantly of another teenage boy or young adult girl who died from a drug overdose, it is sensible that parents would want to know everything they could possibly know about preventing drug abuse in their own homes. Parents want their kids to be safe, from birth to childhood, childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood, and even beyond that. Parents never really stop worrying about their kids for as long as they live.

Tips for Parents on protecting their Teens

Here is some expert advice, culled from professional addiction counselors, that parents can use in protecting their kids from the horrors that are drug and alcohol abuse:

  • Talk to your kids. Yes, it really can be that simple. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, parents who talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol addiction and actually educate their kids about the risks involved affect great change for the better in their kids.
  • Kids who receive a good education and information about the negative ramifications of drug abuse are four times less likely to abuse drugs than kids who do not receive this talk. Yet, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only about thirty percent of parents have these types of discussions with their kids. That needs to change.
  • Be in touch with your kids as much as possible. Kids who are more connected to their parents tend to do better. It is as simple as that. When kids grow up in a tight-knit, close relationship with their parents, they are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. When kids don’t have a close relationship with their parents, when their parents are more distant with them, this is when substance abuse is just outside the door.
  • Keep an eye on your kids. Parents who show an interest in their kids’ daily activities are parents who can have a much better effect on what their kids do with their time. Parents should keep an eye on their kids, should always know what their kids are up to, where their kids are, who they are with, etc. This way parents can intervene if they feel as though their kids are getting into activities they should not be getting into or hanging out with people they should not be hanging out with.
  • Be open and honest with your kids. If parents have had experiences of their own with drug abuse and alcoholism, they should tell their kids that, especially if they are having talks with sons or daughters who are in their late teens or early twenties. At this point, one’s kids are more likely to learn from and respond to their parents’ own experiences than they are to respond to just another lecture.

Drug abuse is an avoidable outcome. It does not have to strike every family. As the SAMHSA research mentioned above, parents who take a vested interest in discussing drug abuse with their kids affect great change on their kids to stay away from drug and alcohol abuse. This has to be the key for parents, as open and honest communication on a regular basis is the best policy in drug prevention.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.