Ways parents can prevent rising teen substance abuse cases

Local News

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — A new trend shows more teens are falling victim to substance abuse. This is why prevention specialists are warning parents.

The summer weather has led to more social events and less supervision causing the rise.

Spectracare Prevention Specialist, Candy Gaff said the excitement of festivities fuels kids’ curiosity.

“Lots of holidays, family events, family reunions so a lot of times they’re are gonna be alcoholic beverages at these events for adults that sometimes is unnoticed when the kids might take one or two and start experimenting,” Gaff said.

This was a problem health officials raised last year during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Twelve years old is the average age teens start to experiment, but Gaff has ways for parents to prevent this.

“So if you talk to them let them know what the rules are, let them know clear consequences if they are caught using, and remind them of the dangers and consequences that go with it.”

Some parents are okay with their child experimenting in their presence, according to Gaff, but this is even more dangerous.

“It makes the kids think ‘okay well my parents think it’s okay for me to drink alcohol so they might think it’s okay to do it away from home’ .”

Other than talking to your teen about alcohol and drugs, get them involved she says.

“Keep ’em busy. There’s babysitting, lawn care, or get ’em out there volunteering in the community,” Gaff said.

Over at Wiregrass 2-1-1, they have several volunteer opportunities for teens to participate in. For anyone wanting more information, you can Visit Wiregrass.

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