Sunday, December 13, 2009

Seven Myths About Teens, Alcohol and Other Drugs

By the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health

1. Myth: My kids are good kids. They won’t get into alcohol or other drugs.
Fact: Good kids can make really bad decisions because their brains are not yet fully developed.
Act: Be patient with your teen. Remember that critical areas of the brain are still forming.

2. Myth: They’ll grow out of it, and be OK.
Fact: The younger kids start drinking, the more likely they are to become addicted.
Act: Tell your kids that drinking when you’re young can make them more likely to be dependent on alcohol later.

3. Myth: We live in the suburbs. Drugs are a city problem.
Fact: In Massachusetts, urban and suburban youth use drugs in about the same numbers.
Act: If your child takes Ritalin, or another drug that could be abused, monitor its use. Don’t let kids take prescription bottles to school. You or the school nurse should administer any medications that could be abused.

4. Myth: I’m teaching them to drink responsibly.
Fact: Alcohol can damage the developing teenage brain.
Act: Don’t serve alcohol to minors under 21-years old.

5. Myth: I can’t stop my kids from doing the same things I did at their age.
Fact: Yes you can. Here’s why you should: Teenagers who drink are far more likely to drive drunk, have sex, fight and experiment with other drugs.
Act: If asked about your past, tell the truth. Don’t go into detail. You can say:
“When I was younger, we didn’t know what we do now about the harmful effects of marijuana or alcohol. I stopped because I realized how harmful it was and because it was illegal. What I am worried about now is you and your safety.”

6. Myth: Weed isn’t that harmful.
Fact: Marijuana use causes memory problems, decreases motivation and increases the risk of developing a serious mental illness, such as depression and anxiety.
Act: Share new information about marijuana use with your teen.

7: Myth: If I set limits, my kids won’t be popular.
Fact: Kids whose parents are involved in their lives are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs.
Act: Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents.

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