There are many reasons why children, teens, and young adults initially start using vapes, alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. The content below is from the Get Smart About Drugs website.
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Tip: Parents and caregivers have the opportunity to guide their teen in making positive decisions about drug and alcohol use. Talk to your kids about drugs.
The teen years are often a time to explore and learn more about themselves as they approach adulthood. Often, this involves experimenting and testing their boundaries. The desire to do something new or risky is a normal part of teen development.
Teens who perceive little risk in using drugs are more likely to use drugs. Teens may also use drugs or alcohol to:
Many factors influence a child’s likelihood to use illegal substances or develop a substance abuse disorder. Effective drug prevention focuses on reducing the risk factors and strengthening the protective factors that are most closely related to substance abuse.
Risk factors are circumstances or events that increase a child’s use and abuse of drugs. The more risk factors present, the more likely a child may be to use drugs and develop problems. Risk factors for drug use include:
As a parent you can control many of the risk and protective factors in your home. Remember that parents and caregivers are the most important role models in children’s lives. For more information see Growing up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention.
Source: O’Connell, M.E., Boat, T., & Warner, K.E. (Eds.). (2009) Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.