While it’s practically impossible to prevent anyone and everyone from using illicit drugs, there are things we can all do to avoid drug and/or alcohol abuse. By sharing this knowledge with those closest to you, you yourself may be able to prevent them from doing drugs, too. Here are the top five ways to help prevent drug use:
1. Effectively deal with peer pressure. The biggest reason teens start using illicit drugs is because their friends utilize peer pressure. No one likes to be left out, and teens (and yes, some adults, too) find themselves doing things they normally wouldn’t do, just to fit in. In these cases, you need to either find a better group of friends that won’t pressure you into doing harmful things, or you need to find a good way to say no. Teens should prepare a good excuse or plan ahead of time, to keep from giving into tempting situations.
2. Deal with life pressure. People today are overworked and overwhelmed, and often feel like a good break or a reward is deserved. But in the end, drugs only make life more stressful — and many of us all too often fail to recognize this in the moment. To prevent using drugs as a reward, find other ways to handle stress and unwind. Take up exercising, read a good book, volunteer with the needy, create something. Anything positive and relaxing helps take the mind off using drugs to relieve stress.
3. Seek help for mental illness. Mental illness and substance abuse often go hand-in-hand. Those with a mental health illness may turn to drugs as a way to ease the pain. Those suffering from some form of mental health illness, such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder should seek the help of a trained professional for treatment before it leads to substance use.
4. Examine every risk factor. If you’re aware of the biological, environmental and physical risk factors you possess, you’re more likely to overcome them. A history of substance abuse in the family, living in a social setting that glorifies drug abuse and/or family life that models drug abuse can be risk factors.
5. Keep a well-balanced life. People take up drugs when something in their life is not working, or when they’re unhappy about their lives or where their lives are going. Look at life’s big picture, and have priorities in order.
If you know someone that is suffering from Substance Abuse and addiction treatment is an option; check to see if their insurance provider covers some, or all of the treatment.
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- Griffin, K., & Botvin, G. (2010). Evidence-Based Interventions for Preventing Substance Use Disorders in Adolescents. Child And Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics Of North America, 19(3), 505-526. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2010.03.005
- Center, Nova. “Peer Pressure And Drug Abuse: How Strong Is The Link?”. Nova Recovery Center Near Austin Texas, 2016, https://novarecoverycenter.com/addiction/peer-pressure-and-drug-abuse-2/. Accessed 5 July 2020.
- “Part 1: The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders And Mental Illness | National Institute On Drug Abuse”. National Institute On Drug Abuse, 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/common-comorbidities-substance-use-disorders/part-1-connection-between-substance-use-disorders-mental-illness. Accessed 5 July 2020.