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Family Involvement Is Key To Stopping Substance Abuse!
Families play the most important role in determining how children handle the temptations to use alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs.
Typically, substance abuse prevention programs for youth are part of school efforts, public television campaigns, or local police initiatives.
But a new effort is starting in many communities. It focuses on preventing substance abuse by helping families. Be a part of it from the very first step!
School and community programs to prevent substance abuse are essential-but they are not sufficient. Frequently, schools do not begin addressing the problem of substance abuse until the high school years. Yet substance abuse often begins in the elementary and middle school years.
If families are to succeed in preventing substance abuse by children, many parents and children need to develop new behaviors and skills. Family-centered programs like the ones described here offer training and support for families as they face the challenge of keeping their children free from drugs.
Many adolescents say they began experimenting with substances when they were children. Unfortunately, we don't have much information on the extent of drug abuse among children. But surveys of youth tell a frightening story. For example, according to the Federal Government's 1997 Monitoring the Future Study, by the time they reached the eighth grade:
The patterns of substance abuse become worse in the high school years. And those who begin using alcohol or tobacco when they are very young are more likely to use them later in life.
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