Concerts and Drugs: Avoid the Risks

shutterstock_151512185It’s summertime, and that means it is summer concert season. Massive music gatherings happen all over the country during the summer months, often attracting large numbers of teenagers.

Unfortunately, this can also mean experimentation with drugs. There have been numerous cases of young people dying in recent years from ecstasy or other substances at music festivals. A few examples:

It’s easy to point out that drugs and concerts have been connected since the Woodstock era. But the potent nature of modern drugs can translate to major concern for parents of teenagers looking to attend these festivals. Here’s a look at the dangerous ties between concerts and drugs. [Read more…]

Lies and Drugs: Tips on How to Approach Your Teen

shutterstock_232628977When parents realize that a child is blatantly lying about something, it can be a disheartening moment. When that lie has to do with drug abuse, it can be a devastating one.

A study in the journal Pediatrics showed how common these kinds of lies can be. As reported by Val Willingham for CNN, Wayne State University researchers surveyed “high-risk urban teens” and their parents about drug use. Then they took hair samples and tested them for opiates and cocaine. A key result: “The data found that young people were 52 percent more likely to test positive for cocaine in their hair samples than they were to actually report using cocaine on their questionnaires.”

“They are giving socially acceptable responses,” said Dr. Virginia Delaney-Black, the study’s author, in the CNN story. “People are not willing to admit to drug use so freely as they are other things. … We’ve known from other studies that adults downplay their drug use. This is the first time we’ve documented it in teens.”

What can parents do when they realize their children are using drugs and lying about it? Here are a few tips. [Read more…]

Marijuana and Teens: Know the Facts

shutterstock_198368684There is good news for parents concerned about drug use. The latest Monitoring the Future survey by the University of Michigan and the National Institute on Drug Abuse polled 45,473 students (eighth, 10th and 12th graders) from 372 schools on a variety of substance-use areas.

The report shows an overall decline in alcohol use, and the same goes for cigarettes, heroin, methamphetamines and prescription opioids. That’s encouraging.

One area that shows continued steady usage is marijuana. Of 12th graders, 35.6 percent report using it in the past year, and 22.5 percent in the past month. Also of note are teenagers’ attitudes toward the drug: 68.9 percent of 12th graders said that they don’t consider marijuana to be harmful. Though the same number of teens say they don’t approve of smoking it regularly, the numbers suggest a relatively relaxed mindset about the drug.  [Read more…]

Teaching the power of saying “no”

family at homeThe ever-present element of peer pressure is something that most teenagers have to deal with, and those moments can be among the most stressful that they face. Parents who want to keep their children away from drugs and alcohol can have open conversations with them about these confusing times. They can also go a step beyond that and advise them on how to respond, with specific examples that can be practiced and rehearsed, and how having like-minded friends can be advantageous as well.

Here’s a look at some ways parents can help their teens to say no, and to make the right choices. [Read more…]

The Power of Conversation

Intervention Tips You Can UseThe first step in dealing with teenagers about alcohol or drug use is of course to talk with them. But a parent’s first instinct may be to present a one-sided look at this — never do this, never do that, that’s the law.

There’s much more to it than that, and parents should understand how important listening is to the process. Hearing out the teenager to truly understand his or her perspective can help to keep the parent-child bond strong, which can then aid future conversations.

Here’s a look at the importance of listening to teenagers in these scenarios. [Read more…]