5 Things a Parent Can Do to Prevent Addiction


Teen addiction is a growing problem among today’s youth, and parents are often asking, “How can I help my addicted teen?”

Yet, while many parents immediately turn toward finding the right treatment for teens, they often overlook teen prevention steps that they can already be implementing at home. So, while the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests engaging teens in research-based programs to help prevent addiction, once a teen has already begun to take drugs, it takes a little more than just prevention education to get troubled teens back on the right path. 

5 Things a Parent Can Do to Prevent Addiction: 


1.  Identify Risk Factors and Address Them Early. 

In NIDA’s publication addressing teen prevention, they note that a teen’s tendency to become an addict is directly related to number and type of risk factors. Risk factors may include aggressive or deviant behaviors, poor self-control, association with peers who abuse drugs, depression and other mental health conditions, trauma, and more. Addressing risk factors and seeking professional treatment for teens, when necessary, is the first step in addiction prevention. 

2. Know Which Drugs are Prevalent in Your Community 

Often parents associate drug and alcohol abuse with the drugs they are familiar with. However, talking to a teenager about heroin or weed (either synthetic or organic marijuana), when the “drug du jour” in your community is cocaine or Molly (MDMA, also known as “Ecstasy”), will likely only put more of a barrier between you and your teen. Out-of-touch parents have less of a chance of connecting with already-struggling teens. 

3. Monitor Your Teen's Behavior 

Establish firm rules in your household, giving praise for appropriate behavior and instituting consequences for when rules are broken. Teens will naturally attempt to push boundaries, but giving teens too much freedom or “space” when they are already exhibiting some form of at-risk behavior will only make matters worse.