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12-21 Helping young adults abstain from drugs during holiday season

Helping young adults abstain from drugs during holiday season

For millions of American families, the holiday season provides the much-needed reprieve and chance to get together with loved ones. Many parents and guardians eagerly anticipate this time since their children come home during the break. In the midst of all the celebrations, it may be important to keep an eye on youngsters to ensure that they abstain from indulging in harmful drugs. This becomes even more important if the teen has a previous history of drug abuse or addiction.

Although holidays provide the perfect opportunity to talk to teens about drug abuse, parents need to initiate such discussions with an open line of communication. Instead of using an antagonistic or confrontational approach, parents need to show love and support in order to gain their children’s attention. However, for a number of youngsters, holiday season can be a stressful period. Family settings can also act as triggers for a potential relapse. Parents play a pivotal role in supporting their children during this festive, yet difficult period.

A possible way to initiate a discussion with youngsters is to talk to them about their experiences in college, and if they have encountered any disturbing situations. Recent incidents of alcohol-related deaths at college fraternities can be a good reference point to introduce the topic about substance abuse. Subsequent discussions can gradually progress to include opioids, marijuana and other drugs. The aim of all these conversations should be to enable teens to make healthy choices and to prevent them from engaging in destructive behavior during the holiday season.

Little leeway during holidays can permanently damage youngsters’ future

According to Frances M. Harding, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), parents must emphasize that if youngsters use heroin or misuse prescription opioids, it can permanently damage their future. Misuse of prescription opioids is the gateway to using heroin and other illegal drugs. Harding cited national-level data to highlight that “sharing of prescription medications among friends and family accounts for 54 percent of nonmedical opioid use.” Accordingly, discussing this issue with youngsters is critical.

Holiday season is also a time for youngsters to attend parties hosted by friends. While there is sufficient awareness about watching out for alcohol-laced drinks, insufficient attention is paid to food laced with drugs. Youngsters may accidentally consume marijuana in the form of edibles. Eating marijuana is considered more dangerous than smoking it. The effect of smoking weed may last only minutes, but the effect of marijuana-laced food may last between 1-3 hours. Moreover, it is difficult to measure the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, in food, increasing the likelihood of an overdose.

Parents must counsel their children if they will be attending parties hosted by relatively unidentified people. Youngsters must be made aware of the dangers of edibles, which are usually in the form of baked goods or candy, and counseled to refuse any suspicious food items. Recent instances like teens being hospitalized after being tricked into eating marijuana-laced cereal can be good examples highlighting the dangers of drug-laced edibles.

Teen drug abuse is preventable

Engaging in meaningful conversations with youngsters about drug abuse is essential to keep them safe and healthy. Parents can also speak to other parents or college/university anti-drug advocates who can assist in prevention efforts. The help of family physicians or dentists can also be solicited to sensitize teens about the dangers of opioids. And if young adults are still unsure, then sharing some statistics may highlight the extent of drug abuse among the population.

Data from the SAMHSA shows that:

  • 5 percent adolescents aged 12-17 and 20.8 percent of young adults aged between 18 and 25 years were current users of marijuana in 2016.
  • Nearly 1.6 percent adolescents and 4.6 percent young adults misused psychotherapeutic drugs (including painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives) in 2016.
  • Young adults aged 18-25 had the highest rate of heroin overdose deaths between 2007 and 2013.

Dealing with teen drug addiction

Sovereign Health understands the plight of teenagers suffering from addiction to illicit drugs and other substances. Our Rancho San Diego facility provides a host of necessary treatment procedures and behavioral therapies to aid its young patients recover quickly. We also have evidence-based recovery management programs that help prevent a relapse.

Our state-of-the-art facilities will help ensure that your festive spirit is not dampened by addiction. For more information about our teen drug rehab, call at our 24/7 helpline. You may chat online with our representatives to understand how important are drug rehab centers for teens, struggling with an addiction.

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