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SAMHSA Report Says Parents May Help Prevent Teens’ Substance Abuse

For many parents of teenagers, talking to your kids may seem hopeless and you may despair that any advice you give will go in one ear and out the other. The reality, however, is that what you say to your kids — and the fact that you take the time to say it — can have a major impact on whether your children put themselves in risky situations. 606911_absinth_4.jpg

Our Boston drunk driving accident lawyers know that one of the biggest risks that kids can take is driving drunk. This behavior not only puts your teen in danger but it also puts any passengers, pedestrians and other motorists at risk as well. Preventing drunk driving and preventing teen drinking in general should be top priorities for every parent and a new study shows that parents may not be doing as much as they can to help stop substance abuse among teens.

Parents Can Make a Difference on Teen Substance Abuse

Recently, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) conducted a comprehensive National Survey on Drug Use and Health. According to USA Today, this survey involved speaking to 67,500 Americans ages 12 and over nationwide.

The results of the study revealed some pretty surprising information about parents, teens and substance abuse. According to the study, for example:

  • 22.3 percent of parents indicated that they believe things they say to their teens on substance abuse issues will have little influence on their teens behavior.
  • 9.1 percent of parents said they have not spoken to their kids about the dangers of drug abuse or about the dangers of drugs, alcohol or tobacco.

This information is troubling because national studies have revealed that kids whose parents talk to them about drinking and substance abuse are far less likely to consume alcohol or drugs. Further, when kids believe that their parents would strongly disapprove of them using substances, the kids are less likely to try them than their peers. Finally, when kids believe that their parents are authoritarian or actively involved, these kids are less likely to get behind the wheel drunk.

With these survey results, it seems that many parents are missing the opportunity to have a heart-to-heart that could keep kids from making a devastating mistake.

Talk to Your Teens This Summer
Every parent wants to keep their kids safe, so parents should be heartened by the results of studies showing that kids really will listen when it comes to discussing substance abuse issues. Parents should take this information into account and should make the time to talk to kids about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Summer is an especially important time to talk to kids because they tend to have more free time over break and to have less supervision with parents at work. As a result, more kids are likely to use alcohol or illegal substances over summer and could be at greater risk of drunk driving accidents and other dangers associated with drinking and drugs.

So, before your kids get out of school this year, take a few minutes, sit down and have an honest conversation about drugs, alcohol and the risks of impaired driving. Your talk could make all the difference.

If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:
New England Enters 100 Deadliest Days of Summer Driving, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, May 15, 2013.