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National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week: Teaching children to shun alcohol and drugs should start early, says poll

Habits formed at an early age tend to stay with people throughout their lives. Similarly, children exposed to alcohol and drugs at an early age have a greater propensity to swerve toward them, later in life. Families, where drinking and drugs are common, unknowingly encourage their children to experiment with these substances.

According to a poll conducted by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NYS OASAS), in New York, a third of children as young as 13 years revealed that they had already consumed alcohol. Further, children as young as 12 years confessed to having tried marijuana at least once. This is the ominous reality of the society at large, where either inadvertently or in sheer carelessness, children have been exposed to alcohol and drugs.

Adolescence is a phase when children try to experiment with new things, which eventually shape their lives. Hence, initiation to substances at this crucial juncture in their lives could spell doom. It is a key period, when 90 percent people with addictions start using a substance before the age of 18 years.

Substance abuse education should start early

Statistics show that 18- to 25-year-olds have the highest rate of drug use, particularly opioids. This necessitates an early initiation of awareness and education about substance abuse in children. The NYS OASAS suggests starting substance abuse prevention measures as early as in preschool.

Parents too have a big role to play in influencing their children to make the right choices when it comes to alcohol and drugs. They need to have open conversations with their children about the ill effects of drug use or alcohol when they are still young. It should not be a taboo or relegated to a later date, when things might have already worsened.

Candid and honest discussion is the key

Discussions with children regarding substance use should not be an annual affair, rather parents should broach the topic on a regular basis. Asking about their day in school every day can be a good way to start. Starting the discussion early can keep the relationship between parents and children open even when the kids have grown up.

Wielding the stick can backfire, whereas understanding and compassion can help win over children. Love and unconditional care can never go wrong when raising kids. Children of parents, who stay true to them and discuss everything candidly, can make informed decisions and take responsibility of their actions.

National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week

As the nation observes the National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week from October 19-25, it is a good time to start the discussion on the pitfalls of drug and alcohol use with kids. Colleges and universities across the country sponsor numerous programs, forums and educational initiatives aimed at raising awareness about the harms of alcohol and drug use on and off campus.

Observed each year during the third week of October, the event tries to remind students about the detrimental effects of alcohol in their lives. It helps people ruminate about the dangers associated with alcoholism, which can have both short-term and long-term effects in a user’s life. Awareness is the key to curbing the menace of substance abuse. Therefore, parents should take a cue from this and start the discussion today.

Seeking help for addiction

Alcoholism is a scourge and can become fatal when chronic. However, one can gain sobriety and long-term recovery with treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol dependence, get in touch with the 24/7 Recovery Helpline. Being a repository of resources on addiction, we can guide you with the right information about alcohol abuse treatment centers in your vicinity. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online with our experts to know more about the available alcohol addiction treatment options and their success rates to be able to make the right decision.

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