Jeffrey E. Johnston

Help protect your college-aged child avoid substance abuse

Many college students, as they experience less parental control, act rashly and dangerously. Drugs and alcohol have proven to significantly alter the performance and emotional health of college students across the United States. Yet students continue to abuse substances on a regular basis while parents watch helplessly.

A court may inflict significant punishments to first-time offenders, and the toll of conviction may be significant. As a parent, you hold the ability to actively prevent your child from trying the substance even once.

Reasons for the abuse

Many reasons exist for college kids to turn to drugs and alcohol. Recognizing newfound freedom gives students the ability to make specific decisions regarding their health and safety. Some reasons that college-aged men and women abuse substances are:

  • Stress: For the first time for many, children have no specific rules. Making life decisions proves daunting, and the addition of extensive coursework, professor demands and new friends and relationships, students may feel increasingly stressed. Drugs and alcohol may provide the temporary relief to escape from everyday stress.
  • Peer pressure: As students come from varying backgrounds, so do their before-college experiences. Many men and women may have tried certain drugs or drank alcohol in high school with family members or friends. In a race for popularity, some college students attempt to pressure other less-experienced students to try various substances. When a large group drinks or does drugs, it may feel safer and more accepted to join.
  • Curiosity:If you raised your child in a home free from alcohol and drugs, the curiosity of your child may infiltrate their decision-making. Rumors of fun times and exciting experiences while drunk or high fill the conversations of many friend groups, and some students want to understand the rush of trying substance.
  • Rebellion: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Many students see their freedom as an open door to try all experiences parents did not approve of while children were under their parents’ roofs. Rebellious actions can lead to students trying various dangerous scenarios.

Parents helping prevent initial use

According to the American Addiction Center, you may prevent your children’s substance abuse by:

  1. Talking to your children about the dangers of alcohol and drugs
  2. Making sure your children do not have access to substances in the home
  3. Be attentive and engaged with your children
  4. Be a good role model

Abuse of drugs and alcohol carry serious consequences that threaten both the future and well-being of your children. While you may not have the ability to control all decisions your children make, you can understand the risks and preventative measures to take so that your children are prepared for the temptations of college. Doing so you may save their lives and the lives of other students.

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