There are plenty of reasons that teens do drugs. For some, it is a way to escape reality. For others it is just following in the footsteps of parents. There are even teens who think that doing drugs is going to make them cool. It’s important to note that scientifically speaking, this is a time of life when peer opinions and reactions are at their peak. It stands to reason then that teens have more power to help teens avoid drugs than anyone else does. One or all of the five strategies below can help you to help teens avoid drugs.
- Make sure drugs aren’t cool. Everyone wants to fit in. Teens search for something they might have in common with someone else and that helps them feel like they fit in somewhere. If drugs aren’t cool in your group, then the teens who want to hang out with your group are going to be far less likely to do them.
- Befriend someone new. Have you ever felt that deep, sinking feeling like you are all alone? A lot of teens who do drugs, do so in order to numb that feeling. You can help by making friends with someone new. Don’t be afraid to step outside your social group. That doesn’t mean you should join a new social group of people who do drugs. It means you might be able to draw someone new into a social group that doesn’t do drugs.
- Raise awareness. Some people will try anything unless it scares them. Teens often don’t know the facts about drug use. For example, they may know that there are many chemicals that go into making meth, but they may not realize that those chemicals actually eat away the protective coating on the eyes. Interesting facts like that can help people turn to something else that is much less harmful to them.
- Be encouraging. The more you do to help people feel good, the better you feel about yourself. You might also be the difference between them taking drugs and avoiding them for the remainder of their lives. Many teens simply feel unworthy and try to drown that feeling in drug use. Help lift them up with a few encouraging words.
Report suspicious activity. There is a difference between telling on someone because you want to get them into trouble and telling on someone because you fear for their safety or the safety of people around them. Teens who feel like no one cares about them may just need someone to acknowledge that they do care. In some cases, that means getting the teen help for a drug problem. Generally you can do this anonymously.
There is no one way to help teens avoid drugs. It takes a combination of tactics and a true desire to do good for people. Cutting someone down because they do drugs isn’t the right answer. If anything, that may make them want to do more drugs. Instead, try giving that teen a reason to stay straight, a view of their worth rather than a contribution to their feelings of worthlessness.