Substance Use Prevention TIPS
Family is the most important protective factor while children are young, pre-middle school. They watch everything parents and older siblings do, including how they treat other people. Build healthy relationships with children. Communication is key. Tell the child how much you love them, daily. Share activities, explain house rules, expectations, chores.
Make the rules and expectations clear.
For example, no use of alcohol (or other drugs). If rule is violated, make the consequences clear such as removal of cell phone, restricted to home (grounding) for a specific period of time, no outside social activities, no screen time or…. what else is fair and important to the child?
Spend time as a family eating meals (especially dinner).
Talk as a family and share your day appropriately. A good open-ended question to ask children is what was the “best” and “worst” thing that happened that day. Listen to what is being said.
Be available to listen/discuss concerns with your children.
As a parent, look at your own behavior.
Do you use substances? What does your behavior look like if you do? Try and model the behavior you want to see in your child.
Environmental-School protective factors:
- Community & school norms, beliefs, and standards against substance use
- Athletics, healthy social activities
- Healthy friendships
- Volunteer work
- Caring teachers
- Education on what substances can do to the brain and body
Students at higher risk for developing substance use disorders are those who:
- Started use at age 15 and younger (brain is not fully developed until approximately age 27)
- Have a biological family member with a substance use disorder order
- Do not have good social coping tools or a positive social orientation
- Have poor academic achievement
- Socialize with other students who use
- Lack the clear message to NOT use, enforced by consequences
Additional Prevention Information can be found at www.samhsa.gov