Chicago — To highlight Mental Health month, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment, one of the largerst providers of substance abuse treatment in Illinois, has released the 'What's A Parent To Do?' Parent Toolkit.
The online toolkit provides parents with facts on teen substance abuse, while offering tips on how to have conversations with their child about alcohol and drugs like K2, inhalants, steroids and more, and how and where to seek treatment if they suspect their child is involved in substance abuse.
According to a new national study, teenager drug use has increased over the last three years. The study shows a significant 67 percent increase in the number of teens who report using Ecstasy (from 6 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2010) and just as alarming, Marijuana use among teens has increased 22 percent (from 32 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2010).
Those findings, developed by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation, point to a growing trend in teen addiction and teen substance abuse. Of those teens who reported using alcohol, one in four (25 percent), said they drank a full alcoholic drink for the first time by age 12 or younger.
Statistics regarding teenager drug use show that of the nine million American teenagers and young adults needing treatment, two million are between the ages of 12 and 17, and ninety percent of those are not getting the help they need. Understanding parental influence on children through conscious and unconscious efforts, as well as when and how to talk with children about drugs and alcohol, can help parents have more influence than they might think on a child's potential drug and alcohol use.
"Adolescents do listen to their parents when it comes to issues such as drinking and smoking," says Gaia McVey, Adolescent Program Supervisor Gateway Carbondale. "Particularly if the messages are conveyed consistently and through open lines of communication."
Research suggests that only 19 percent of teens feel that parents should have a say in the music they listen to, and 26 percent believe their parents should influence what clothing they wear. However, the majority - around 80 percent - feel that parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol. That influence plays a significant role in the outcome of teenager drug use.
Says Gaia, "With the 'What's A Parent To Do?' Toolkit, we're hoping to better arm parents with the facts on substance abuse. With so many media influences, parents can use some clarity on the issue."
A free, downloadable electronic version of the Parent Toolkit 'What's A Parent To Do?' as well as links to free online drug and alcohol assessment tools, are available at Gateway Foundation's website: www.RecoverGateway.org.