Drug use: 6 tips for parents

The consumption of drugs such as alcohol, joints or pills can potentially be the most destructive activity in which our adolescent children can be involved. All drugs affect the health of people and their personal development. However, this fact increases even more in the case of the youngest.

Adolescents have faster absorption rates and, however, their metabolic systems are much less efficient than those of adults. A) Yes, they reach the addition five times faster.

The risk - perhaps the most important - of drugs is their ability to create dependency. All the drugs show this characteristic. Although it is claimed that some drugs do not produce physical dependence (cannabis, hallucinogens, ecstasy ...) this is a controversial issue. In what there is unanimity, is the ability of all drugs to cause psychological or emotional dependence.

Capacities altered by drug use

In the case of adolescents it is even worse, because that drug consumption occurs at a time when their brain changes rapidly; and the interference of foreign substances can damage it and steal its potential, the full development of its potential capabilities, but that can be permanently altered.

The consumption of drugs induces, on the other hand, uncontrolled behavior under its effects; behaviors, in many cases, in which the risks are not measured, nor the consequences of or what is being done.

In addition, many of the drugs found in the illegal market are frequently subjected to adulteration processes. In these cases, the potential consumer does not know what it is or is taking and, therefore, is faced with unpredictable added risks.


Action program for parents against drug use

When it is obvious that our child has problems, when the indications of drugs are irrefutable and it seems that the world is coming down, it is time to sit down and breathe deeply.

1. Act calmly. That is, without dramatizing. Drug dependence is a slow and not inevitable process, which passes through successive stages and does not necessarily imply a forced escalation, but can even stop spontaneously. It is essential to know at what stage of the process our son is: he may have made a first experiment or consumed sporadically or, on the contrary, he made a more regular and habitual consumption.

2. Search information. In the case of detecting an abusive consumption or dependence: it is necessary not to hide the problem. The first step is to request guidance and help. This first contact with professionals is essential to not feel alone and lost. Before acting, it is necessary to gather as much information as possible.

We must learn the real dangers of drugs. At these ages, teens think they know more about drugs than their parents and are probably right. On the other hand, what they know they have learned from a camel whose main motivation is the benefit, or from a partner who is happy to get more people. We have to learn, speak and ask in order to offer our son reliable and realistic information about the harmful effects of the substances he consumes and to help him analyze the reasons why he takes them.

3. Seek the support of the whole family. We have to discuss the situation objectively with the whole family, because it affects everyone. Our son must know that drug use is, in some way, an abuse of the whole family, since he will have to bear the consequences of his lies, robberies and decadence. That's why the whole family has something to say.

It may also be a good idea to contact the parents of our child's friends who may have the same problem. A joint performance has a lot of strength, more than the pressure of his group of friends. No one-not even his best friends-loves our children more than we do. If there is not a group of parents in the school or institute, we can do what we can then to start one.

4. Talk with our son. It is important to adopt an attitude of acceptance and not rejection so that our child perceives it as an aid and not as a censure or control; Of course, underlining the disapproval. Do not do it if you are drunk or placed, but wait for it to pass. It is about trying to talk to him about: · The substances he is taking.
- The dose and frequency.
- Your degree of awareness about the risks or possible problems of the consumption you are doing.
- The function that is fulfilling for him or for her the drug or drugs that she is using.

5. Healthy habits. Whether there is a consumer situation or not, there is a series of healthy habits that can help to free the body of harmful substances ... or prevent its use.

- Make sure they eat three healthy meals a day. A teenager needs a balanced diet, rich in minerals and vitamins that provide the brain and the body with the basic nutrients for normal development.
- Encourage them to practice their favorite sport; make sure they sweat, which will accelerate the elimination of toxins. Exercise increases the adolescent's aerobic capacity, fills oxygen in all parts of the body, stimulates growth, aids digestion and promotes the desire for a restful night's sleep.
- Facilitate the search for alternatives that they substitute the function that the drugs are fulfilling: to motivate him towards diverse hobbies, to awaken new interests and new entertainments, to open his range of friends by putting him in contact with other young people, etc.
- Regularity in sleep is essential. It is during sleep when the batteries of the body are recharged, when the neurochemical transmitters of the next day are prepared and put into activity.
- Encourage them to drink a lot of liquid. Some vitamins, such as B and C, could be beneficial.
- Help them breathe fresh air. This will help them improve the oxygen levels that travel through their blood.

6. Love, closeness and ... discipline. These are moments to give children a lot of love, a love based on mutual respect. Tell them many times that we love them, and that we only hate their bad behavior caused by drugs.

On the other hand, our discipline and demand must be strong, but also rational and compassionate. We have to remind ourselves that our ultimate goal is to free our children from drugs. Half measures do not lead anywhere.

Therefore, practices such as setting clear schedules and rules of coexistence at home that must be respected can be a good idea, since this facilitates the climate of understanding in the family and helps control risks.

Ricardo Regidor
Advice: Trevor Grice, director of The Life Education TrustGuide for parents concerned about drugs. Commissioner for the Drug. Junta de Andalucía. Documents of the FAD.

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