Should parents share their past drug abuse with their children?Teen First time Substance abuse Facts

Some recent research has produced some interesting statistics about teen substance abuse facts.  Drug-rehab.org reports some interesting findings concerning teen’s first time abusing substances.  The results are reported below.

Drug-rehabs.org indicates that, “According to the 2006 NSDUH, 10.6 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 drank alcohol for the first time in the past year, and 5.8 percent used an illicit drug10 for the first time. The 2006 NSDUH also indicates that on an average day during the past year, adolescents’ aged 12 to 17 used the following substances for the first time:

  • 7,970 drank alcohol for the first time;
  • 4,348 used an illicit drug for the first time;
  • 4,082 smoked cigarettes for the first time;
  • 3,577 used marijuana for the first time;
  • 2,517 used pain relievers non-medically for the first time;
  • 1,603 used inhalants for the first time;
  • 1,281 used hallucinogens for the first time;
  • 909 used cocaine for the first time;
  • 860 used stimulants non-medically for the first time;
  • 236 used methamphetamine for the first time; and
  • 86 used heroin for the first time.”


These results concerning teen first time substance abuse are troubling.  More research and education needs to be implemented to help decrease these numbers of teen first time substance abuse.

coughSyrupSizzurp: A Dangerous Teen Drug

Doctors are warning of a cough syrup concoction called sizzurp that young people are abusing to get high.  Teens are making the potentially deadly mix, using soda, candy and prescription cough syrup. To make matters worse, celebrities are glorifying the mix in music.

Known in some circles as “sizzurp,” “purple drank,” or “dirty sprite,” the mixture of prescription cough syrup with codeine, benzodiazepines and a soft drink has been used and sung about by rappers since the mid-1990s. Now, many law enforcement officials in states such as West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina are finding that teens are abusing the substance and presumably being influenced by the music they listen to.

The sizzurp drink is highly addictive, and codeine and promethazine can be deadly when mixed with booze or consumed in high doses. Dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in most over-the-counter cough syrups, can cause increased heart rate, fever and liver damage when taken at sizzurp levels, which can reach 25 times the recommended dose.

Hollywood reporter recently indicated that, “Rapper Pimp C died in 2008 of a cough-syrup overdose, according to the L.A. County coroner’s office. In May 2013, Lil Wayne was hospitalized for seizures relating to his abuse of the drug, leading to multiple media reports that the rapper came close to dying during the medical incident.”

Dr. Deni Carise (an addiction psychologist) told the New York Daily News, “We’ve seen patients who take enough of the medication (sizzurp) to have side effects similar to LSD trips with extreme mood swings, hallucinations, paranoia and very risky behavior.  In extreme cases this has led to psychotic-like experiences that endanger the user and those around him or her.”

Sizzurp abuse among teens is becoming more prevalent.  A 2012 survey found that 5.5 percent of 12th graders said they’d gotten high off sizzurp.  So, although teens may think that there is no harm in taking medications because they are prescribed by doctors, they need to be educated that consuming any sort of drug in a way that it is not intended is always dangerous. Like any other opioid, sizzurp can cause death if taken in too high a quantity.


GeneticsofalcoholismParents and teenage addicts

Discovering that a teen is addicted to drugs or alcohol can generate fear, confusion, and anger in parents.  One of the greatest challenges that parents in this predicament struggle with – at least initially – is coming to terms with the scale of their teen’s addiction. After all, isn’t it common knowledge that teenagers and young adults will experiment from time to time? It’s all a part of growing up, right?

Well, it may be true that teens who smoke marijuana on occasion, or accept a can of beer at a party, don’t develop an addiction that will eventually come to dominate their lives. However, how can parents recognize when their teen has gone beyond the experimental phase and established an addiction?

Many parents try to reason that their teenagers are just “being kids” and that they are being offered irresistible temptations at every turn.  But, many parents also find that after living in denial for a while, their struggling teen is soon fighting a fierce addiction.  Generally, what starts as a harmless “one-time” thing can turn into serious addiction — especially for teenagers who have easy access to their drugs of choice.  Most parents try to handle drug abuse problems on their own.  They may confiscate items, ban certain friendships, etc.  However, many parents eventually find that professional help is most often needed once their teenager becomes addicted.

Parents need to confront their teen about the severity of the problem and remain calm when doing so.  It’s also important to confront the teenager when everyone is completely sober.  If parents explain their concerns and make it clear that their concern comes from a place of love, it can help the teen feel safe and supported.

Most importantly, parents should not wait until they feel powerless to rescue their child from the clutches of addiction; they shouldn’t wait until their teenager’s life is on the line – seek help early on.

TeenagersPreventing teen drinking

There are many factors involved in preventing teen drinking.  Much research has shown that parental involvement is key in preventing teen drinking.  Although many parents do not feel like their teen is listening or responding to their advice when it comes to drinking and smoking, research shows that teens actually do listen to their parents when parents use authority and are consistent in their discussions.  A study conducted by Jackson (2002) indicates 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. Those who do not think that parents have authority over these issues are four times more likely than other teens to drink alcohol and three times more likely to have plans to drink if they have not already started.”

Also, it has been shown that teens who believe that their parent would be upset with them or disappointed with them for drinking are less likely to do so.  This important fact highlights the importance of communication between teens and parents in discussing expectations and preventing teen drinking.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates some key elements to preventing teen drinking.  These include:

“Talk early and often, in developmentally appropriate ways, with children and teens about your concerns—and theirs—regarding alcohol. Adolescents who know their parents’ opinions about youth drinking are more likely to fall in line with their expectations.

Establish policies early on, and be consistent in setting expectations and enforcing rules. Adolescents do feel that parents should have a say in decisions about drinking, and they maintain this deference to parental authority as long as they perceive the message to be legitimate; consistency is central to legitimacy.

Work with other parents to monitor where kids are gathering and what they are doing. Being involved in the lives of adolescents is key to keeping them safe.

Work in and with the community to promote dialogue about underage drinking and the creation and implementation of action steps to address it.

Be aware of your State’s laws about providing alcohol to your own children.

Never provide alcohol to someone else’s child.”

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007)

Further, recent studies have highlighted the importance of community support in preventing teen drinking.  Interventionservicesinc.com reports that, “teenagers who are engaged in their community may be less likely to drink.” Recent research conducted at Pennsylvania State University indicates that teens that are part of a loving, supportive, and protective community are much less likely to start abusing alcohol.  This research emphasizes the need for positive community involvement and experiences.

With open, respectful communication and explanations of boundaries and expectations, parents, teachers, and community members can influence teen’s decisions well into adolescence and beyond. In regards to preventing teen drinking, this is especially important due to the lifelong consequences.

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