Teen drug abuse is a prevalent problem and therefore a very pressing issue. Many teens use or abuse drugs but have no real understanding of the danger they are exposing themselves to. Research shows that 90% of all school children will be pressured by friends to use illegal substances (Focus Adolescent Services 6). Teenagers need the knowledge to make the right decision about drugs when introduced to substances.
In order to address problems early parents should educate themselves about the warning signs of drug abuse. If a parent knows what to look for they will see changes in their child physically, emotionally, in school performance, in their relationships with their family, and in their social life. In terms of physical changes the teen would be tired, with red or glazed eyes, a lasting cough, and frequent sicknesses. Emotionally you would see low self-esteem, irritability, irresponsible behavior, and mood changes.
School performance could decrease, with discipline problems, truancy and an overall lack of interest. At home with the family the teen could be starting arguments, breaking rules, and withdrawing from the family. Finally the parents would see changes in appearance and hygiene, or spending time with friends that are showing the same symptoms (Foundation For Youth 10). A parent needs to be able to identify these warning signs and know what course of action to take if they suspect substance abuse
When a teen is addicted to drugs, he or she needs immediate intervention. The most effective way to provide support and recovery is through treatment programs and therapy. There are many kinds of treatment programs to treat drug abuse. These programs use different methods and goals to rehabilitate the abuser. Detox facilities are usually step-by-step programs that physically and emotionally support the drug abusers efforts to get clean. Patients usually stay in detox centers for less than a week. After detox they are referred to rehab centers that are available in the community through county and state programs. If the abuser is in trouble with the law because of drug abuse they are required by the courts to participate in the programs. Otherwise the patients leave detox and can join programs or go back to their home environment and risk relapsing. (Sun Hawk Academy 13)
Here are some examples of programs a patient can enter after detox. Sober living provides a controlled environment that allows the addict to live life day by day without the influence of drugs. The abuser lives with other recovering drug addicts and counselors that watch over the patients and help them set and reach goals for their recovery. Controlled communities are typically county run facilities that target teens in trouble with the law and abusing drugs. The abusers relocate to a home with other recovering teens. They live there with counselors that are trained in drug rehabilitation and provide support, counseling and education for the clients.
Located on site are therapists the teens see daily to work out their emotional problems that are causing their drug abuse and problems with the law. (NIDA para. 3)Halfway homes are another type of program an abuser enters after detox. This treatment is similar to sober living but with less guidelines and rules. The participant’s main goal is to live drug free and sustain themselves and be part of a working community. The organization that runs the community is responsible for providing job opportunities and keeping the community crime free so the patients aren’t tempted by drugs(CADA 9).
Different treatments have long and short-term effects on the patients. Studies have been done about the effectiveness of drug treatment and the longevity of its effects. Many studies show that drug abusers that become sober stay clean for about five years. They then begin using drugs to get through a tough time in their life and end up over dosing because they no longer have a high tolerance (MEDLINEplus 32)(Aspen Achievment Academy para. 2)(DHS 6).
Detoxification centers and sober living are currently the most widely used and effective treatments. There are also private pay clinics that provide longer term and comprehensive treatments such as Harmony Place in California or Narcono in Battle Creek, Michigan. These institutes tend to have high long-term success rates because they are able to offer more specialized programs (DIH par.5). For example Support Systems Homes is an organization that provides residential treatment, drug and alcohol detox, aftercare, and relapse prevention. This is a private establishment that claims to have a 83% success rate.
Their program provides goal-oriented treatment planning, one-on-one counseling, group therapy, educational lectures, relapse prevention groups, and specific components designed for individual clients on a case-by-case basis. The base of their program is a 12 step workshop that teaches the basics of establishing a comfortable and clean lifestyle. Their entire facility is built on this method unlike a state run facility that uses the medical detox program and then tries to set up the patient in a different environment to prevent relapse. (Support Systems 6) They are a very expensive treatment center and are targeted for a certain part of the public.
Although there are many options to treat drug abuse drug prevention and education is a crucial part of reducing substance abuse. A teen needs to have positive influences in every aspect of their life to prevent substance abuse but also needs treatment if such a need occurs. Drug abuse is a very important issue in teenagers lives today and they need to be educated about substance so they can make the right choices.