Parents Need Help Responding to Recent Increases in Teen Drug Use

New survey data from Partnership for a Drug-Free America® and MetLife Foundation finds that more than one in five parents feel unable to prevent their kids from trying drugs and alcohol. To help motivate and equip parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of substance abuse, the two organizations are focusing the next phase of their award-winning radio campaign, which kicks off today, on better preparing parents on ways to safeguard their kids from the risks of drug and alcohol use.

To begin an ongoing conversation, the Partnership and MetLife Foundation’s parenting skills campaign will air educational messages on radio stations in local markets nationwide through the end of October. The campaign is backed by online tools and tips for raising drug-free teens. A brochure containing helpful tips, called “Your Child Needs You,” and other resources are also being made available. All can be found at

Parents Need Help Responding to Recent Increases in Teen Drug Use

The new data comes from the 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), sponsored by MetLife Foundation, which found more than one in five parents feel there is little they can do to prevent their kids from trying drugs (22 percent) and alcohol (27 percent). The survey also found only two in five parents (39 percent) feel strongly that they could immediately stop their kids from using drugs once they’ve started.  PATS data released earlier this year also confirmed marked increases in teen use of alcohol, Ecstasy and marijuana, namely those substances that teens are most likely to encounter is social situations. The need for parents to play a more active role in helping protect their kids from dangerous behaviors posed by the use of drugs and alcohol is underscored in the campaign.

“It’s crucial that we help parents understand the threats facing teens today, help them be more confident about their ability to make a difference, and equip them with useful resources, which is the purpose of this campaign,” said Steve Pasierb, president of the Partnership. “What many parents may not realize is that they, not athletes, movie stars or popular music artists, are in fact the biggest influence in the lives of their children. Kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not get that critical message from their parents.”

The campaign features radio messages in English and Spanish, stressing the importance of talking with kids about drugs and alcohol to parents, encouraging them to overcome their fears about starting a dialogue with kids about these dangerous behaviors, and motivating parents to stay involved in their children’s lives to keep them healthy.

By talking with teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, parents can help protect their kids and keep them safe,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “Parents strongly influence the decisions teens make and this campaign provides much-needed tools to help parents feel better equipped to discuss this important health issue with their kids.”

Visitors to can download copies of the brochure “Your Child Needs You! A guide to help your child lead a healthy drug-free life,” available in English, Spanish and Chinese languages. The brochure includes information on the dangers of illicit drug use and helps parents prevent drug use in their own families. Free copies are available from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 877-767-8432.

The month of September is Recovery MonthNorth Florida as well as other parts of Florida are proactive in bringing an awareness to addiction and substance abuse.


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Sue Scheff: Chasing the Dragon is NOT a Game – Learn About Drug Addiction

Have you heard of chasing the dragon?  This is slang for smoking opium and not having a care in the world about anything else, except for getting high.  Your teenager may be smoking pot today, and some parents say, “it is just marijuana, they used to smoke it too“, however do they realize pot smoking today is much more serious than it was years ago?  What is the marijuana being laced with?  It is causing your teen to need it more and more?

Now that summer is officially here, teens will have more free time.  Sometimes this is not always a good thing.  How many times do we hear “not my kid?”  Being a parent in denial can only cause more problems later.

National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month is in September, however today is when you can start to be proactive in your community.  Join the voices for recovery on Facebook.  Find out where you can learn more about substance abuse and how you can be  part of recovery, not an enabler.

Don’t wake up one morning to find out your teen has decided to chase the dragon. Start today in being proactive and educate yourself on the abuse of drugs and alcohol.  Over the last 20 years, National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) has inspired millions of people to raise awareness about addiction, share their stories of recovery, and assist others who are still struggling.

In Florida there are events to help raise awareness.  Click here for dates and times.

Recovery Month for June is getting ready for September launch.  Watch the PSA.

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Sue Scheff: Addicted – Are you the Addict or the Enabler? Addiction Effects the Entire Family

“You are loving your child to death” is a common phrase we will hear professionals say when a parent has become an enabler to their child, whether adult or teenager, that has become or on the road to becoming an addict.

But she/he needs a place to stay, they are hungry, they promised they will change – this time” is a common phrase we hear a parent say to others that are attempting to help that family.

As the author of “Wit’s End, Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-ControlTeen“, and a Parent Advocate, I speak with parents of struggling teens regularly. Parents in denial cannot see they are only hurting their teen and prolonging their recovery by continuing to rescue them and make excuses for them.  The number of times I hear parents say how smart their child is, or they know he/she will change, it is just a typical teen, etc – all this could be true, however do you want to risk it isn’t being a phase?

Interventionist Kristina Wandzilak shares her story of addiction and the experience that eventually changed her life.  Watch video here.  This is worth 4 minutes of all parents that are struggling with an at risk teen or addict child.

Addicted is one of the most powerful and realistic reality shows that has recently hit the air waves.  This show exposes how an addict is not only destroying their life, they are affecting their entire family and what is left of their circle of friends.

Stealing their parents valuables, siblings and parents putting bolt locks on their bedroom doors, the addict is sometimes literally selling their body for sex for money for their next high.  Even being arrested doesn’t effect some addicts.  Many have been through numerous rehabs only to fall back again.

That is why this is an entire family that needs to work this  process, not just the addict.  The family needs to change their habits, their enabling, their thought process. They need to accept that they cannot control, help or force their child to change.  Sometimes hitting rock bottom isn’t far enough.

The addict needs to make that decision to change, the family needs to make that decision to change.  If the family doesn’t change, the addict will continue to feed off them and vice versa.

As hard as it may be, until the family let’s go, steps away from denial and enabling; the sooner the addict will realize there is no more rescue net.  Many fear their addict may die or commit suicide, God forbid that happens, however it is not the parents fault.  If you truly think about it – by enabling them you are helping them toward one less day of life.  There is nothing good or healthy that can come from addiction.

So parents, stop being in denial. Watch Addicted, learn you are not alone.  Reach out, get help.  Even if your child doesn’t want it, do it for your family. 

Stop making excuses and save a life.

Resource for parents of troubled teens:

Resource for parents of adult children:

Order Wit’s End today and watch Addicted.  Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

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