This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Institute on Drug Abuse. All opinions are 100% mine.
My son is 12 and in 7th grade which means he is potentially being exposed to some of the scarier things of this world. You’d be surprised at how young people start using drugs these days which is why it’s so important for me to make sure my son (and I) have all of the facts about drug and alcohol abuse.
National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW) takes place this year from January 25-31, 2016. This week-long awareness campaign was started in 2010 and is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The campaign’s goal is to SHATTER THE MYTHS surrounding drugs and alcohol that teens hear about from peers, in the music they listen to and the things they see on TV.
The campaign dispels these myths by using NIDA science to back up the drug and alcohol facts.
Last year’s campaign saw over 1,500 local community-based events across the US and internationally. These events connect teens with experts and create a safe place for them to ask questions about drug and alcohol use, without being judged or lectured.
One popular form of substance abuse among teens is inhaling because they use common household chemicals that most of us have in our home and wouldn’t even think twice about allowing our teens to have access to. These include volatile solvents like paint thinners and nail polish remover and aerosol products like spray paint and hair spray. Gases such as butane lighters and believe it or not, whipped cream dispensers can also be inhaled.
Regular use of inhalants can cause heart damage, liver failure, nerve damage, weakened immune system, burns, breathing problems and so many more potential harmful effects. Oh and death. That’s a pretty serious one.
In order to help parents prepare to talk to their teens about the dangers of drugs and alcohol use, NIDA put together the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge so parents can see how much they know about the facts of these dangerous addictions. It’s a pretty eye-opening quiz. I only scored 50% on it so I obviously have a lot to learn.
Patents play an important role in helping your kids avoid the path to drug use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has a Family Checkup resource to support positive parenting and help parents identify potential problems.
The Family Checkup addresses these 5 questions in detail:
- Are you able to communicate calmly and clearly with your teenager regarding relationship problems?
- Do you encourage positive behaviors in your teenager on a daily basis?
- Are you able to negotiate emotional conflicts with your teenager and work toward a solution?
- Are you able to calmly set limits when your teenager is defiant or disrespectful? Are you able to set limits on more serious problem behavior such as drug use, if or when it occurs?
- Do you monitor your teenager to assure that he or she does not spend too much unsupervised time with peers?
If you think your teen has a drug problem, there are resources that can help you: What to do if your teen has a problem with drugs.