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Parents

You are the most important influence in your child's life. Here's everything you need to know about alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs.

Parents

 

 

 

 

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Alcohol

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According to a 2015 study, 7.7 million individuals between the ages of 12 and 20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Research shows that the earlier an individual begins drinking, the more likely they are to become dependent on alcohol.

 

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Ways Children and Teens Are Affected by Alcohol:

  • Unintentional accidents (falls, drownings, car accidents)
  • Depression and suicide
  • Violence (fighting, homicide)
  • Academic performance suffers

Even when your children turn 19 years old and move out of the house or go off to college, they are still not of legal drinking age and their brains are not fully developed until the age of 25. Some parents may view drinking alcohol as a rite of passage for this age group, but the risks are still the same. Never provide alcohol to a minor. Aside from being potentially harmful, adults who procure alcohol for a minor in Nebraska can face serious penalties, including fines and jail time.

YOU are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing underage alcohol use.

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 What You Can Do:
  • Talk openly with your kids regarding underage alcohol use
  • Develop family rules and consequences regarding underage alcohol use
  • Know your children's friends and communicate with their parents about any parties or outings
  • Report underage drinking: 1-866-MUST-B-21 (1-866-687-8221)
green computer3  Resources for Conversations with Your Kids:


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Marijuana

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Of all the illicit drugs, marijuana is the most widely used. If your child is exposed to drugs, he or she will most likely be offered marijuana.

  • Researchers found that "smoking marijuana ... results in a substantially greater respiratory burden of carbon monoxide and tar than smoking a similar quantity of tobacco."
  • Heavy marijuana use impairs young people's learning and memory.
  • The marijuana that teens use today has more than twice the concentration of THC, the chemical that affects the brain, than marijuana did 20 years ago.
  • Research shows that marijuana use is nearly twice as likely to lead to dependence among adolescents than among adults. The earlier kids start using marijuana, the more likely they are to become dependent on it or other illicit drugs later in life.
  • Drivers whose blood tested positive for THC "are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for the incident [an accident] than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol"; when used in conjuntion with alcohol, even a small dose of marijuana increases risk substantially beyond that for either alcohol or marijuana alone.
  • Marijuana use is "significantly associated with worse recovery for depression symptoms ... and anxiety symptoms ... compared with patients not using marijuana." Young people who use marijuana regularly have double the risk of psychosis and an increased risk of schizophrenia, while teenagers who use it weekly have double the risk of depression and anxiety; adolescents who use marijuana montly are three times more likely than non-users to have suicidal thoughts.

 

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Be the Difference
Talk to your teen about marijuana. You are the most important influence in your teen's life when it comes to drugs. Teens who learn about the risks from their parents are less likely to smoke marijuana or use other drugs than teens who don't. 

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Drug Facts:

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Talking to Your Teen:

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Prescription Drugs

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These days, teens don't have to go out looking for drugs; they can just go to the medicine cabinet. While prescription opioid abuse among teens has declined significantlythe medications are more deadly than ever, so parents must continue to make an effort to keep these medications away from their children. Also, teens are still abusing prescription stimulants and depressants. In 2017, 16.5% of 12th graders reported abusing prescription drugs at some time in their lives.

Teens are abusing both prescription and over-the-counter drugs to get high. This includes painkillers, such as those drugs prescribed after surgery; depressants, such as sleeping pills or anti-anxiety drugs; and stimulants, such as those drugs prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); as well as over-the-counter drugs, such as cough and cold remedies.

Because these drugs are so readily available and many teens believe they are a safe way to get high, teens who wouldn't otherwise touch illicit drugs might abuse prescription drugs. Although teens report that parental disapproval is a powerful way to keep them away from drugs, not many parents are talking about it.

 

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Be the Difference
Here are some things you can do immediately:

  • Safeguard all drugs at home. Monitor quantities and control access.
  • Properly conceal and dispose of old or unneeded medicines. Look for locally scheduled prescription drug take-back events. You can also dispose of drugs in the trash. To make sure that teens or others don't take them out of the trash, mix them with an undesirable substance (like used coffee grounds or kitty litter) and put the mixture in an empty can or bag. Unless the directions say otherwise, do NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet because the chemicals can pollute the water supply. Also, remove any personal, identifiable information from prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away. Visit the FDA's website for more tips on safe disposal.
  • Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs as well.
  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Set clear rules for teens about all drug use, including not sharing medicine and always following the medical provider's advice and dosages. Be a good role model by following these same rules with your own medicines.

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