Should your back-to-school checklist include a conversation about drugs and alcohol with your kids? Yes!
By: Nikki Stuhr, LADC
- Chemical Health Specialist – Stillwater High School
Growing up in 2023 is a very different world than when parents grew up.
Kids are facing many different challenges that parents may have not experienced
for themselves. Social media and modern marketing are the things to blame.
Social media has changed certain dynamics and is exposing kids to substances
earlier. Parents will need to act sooner with prevention techniques.
Talking to your elementary aged child about drugs and alcohol can seem
too early and a little daunting. However, this is the prime time to start introducing
those conversations. Talking about how to make heathier choices is crucial at this
age and can set up a foundation for them as they get older.
Mental health issues for kids have gotten worse, and with that, substance
use has gotten more intense. Research shows children begin to face high risks of
drug experimentation between 13 and 14 years old. But 16 years old is believed
to be the pivotal year for adolescents, who face increasing peer pressure to
experiment. The age of onset of substance use is getting younger and younger.
Along with that, exposure to illicit drugs and alcohol prior to age 15 statistically
predicts substance use disorders in adulthood, amongst other long-term
consequences including criminal behavior and severe mental health problems.
Youth Service Bureau has a team of five Chemical Health Specialists. We provide
chemical health support in three school districts within Washington and Ramsey
Counties. We are providing these services at the middle and high school levels.
Please reach out to a Chemical Health Specialist anytime. We are always here to
help support you and your family.
For more tips and tricks on how to have an age-appropriate conversation with you
kid, please visit: https://drugfree.org/article/prevention-tips-for-every-age/
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