Although it is now accepted that society as a whole shows an absolute rejection of drug use and is no longer seen as an attractive and interesting habit, a large number of people still use addictive substances, especially among the general population. young and adolescent.
However, there are a number of guidelines or recommendations that we can implement from our role as parents, family or friends, to prevent young people from getting into drug use, As well as to slow the development of addiction if it has already started.
Adolescence and the risk of drug use
Adolescence and post-adolescence it is an extremely confusing and complicated time of life. The fact that we don’t have a fully formed identity yet makes us very influential and susceptible people, because during this time the most coveted goal is to be able to fit in and feel a part of something.
This need to integrate, coupled with the influence of our peers, the media, television, the press, and the same attitude of rebellion, with the need to experience new things; they make this period a risk factor for starting and developing drug addiction.
It should be noted that when we talk about drug addiction not only does it refer to the most serious addictions or the strongest drugs and destructive, the daily use of drugs such as cannabis is increasing and can also have disastrous consequences in the medium and long term.
Why do some young people use drugs?
As we mentioned earlier, adolescence is a very compromised life stage when it comes to drug use. However, there is not a single factor that makes a young person or teenager to be attracted to any type of drug.
Social or group pressure is usually one of the main causes for which a teenager decides to start using drugs. The need to fit in and feel part of the group, as well as the pressure it can exert during consumption, may be enough to start using.
Likewise, this stage of life is often marked by strong feelings of incomprehension and confusion, just as a lack of self-esteem or self-confidence can generate high levels of frustration that can lead to drug use. drugs as a way to escape these emotions.
At other times, drug use it develops as an act of rebellion. A way of expressing the nonconformity that the adolescent experiences with what surrounds him. Drug use can be viewed as a form of disobedience, both for parents or guardians and for the rest of society as a whole.
Finally, a lack of awareness of the real effects of any type of drug and of the influence of certain media which still show the consumption of these as something attractive and even interesting, they promote the attraction and fascination they arouse in young people.
8 guidelines for preventing drug use in adolescents
Despite all of this, there are still things that family, friends or society as a whole can do to help reduce or even prevent drug use among young people.
Although there are currently many campaigns by institutions and schools that seek to educate young people about the risks of drug use, such as parents and people with adolescents around us, we are also becoming agents. direct prevention.
This means we don’t need to wait for teens to get drug information from the outside, we ourselves can inform ourselves well and transmit this information, Because the fact that it is someone close and trusted who transmits it can also be positive.
2. Develop your social skills
In many cases, adolescents enter the world of drugs because someone from their own friendship group offers them. In these cases, the lack of social skills, as well as the lack of emotional education and assertiveness skills, cause the adolescent with the fear of rejection to accept the use.
Knowing this, education in social skills that allow young people to say “no” without any fear is essential to prevent them from engaging in consumption.
3. Encourage the development of positive self-esteem
If in the fear of not fitting in, we find that a large proportion of adolescents do not have a sufficiently high self-esteem or do not feel confident enough, we will find in these traits a very risk factor. important for drug use.
So, help them develop a high self-esteem that gives them self-confidenceIt will also be very useful in preventing young people from resorting to drugs to feel better about themselves.
4. Develop a critical sense
A well-informed and sufficiently confident adolescent will be much better able to develop a critical sense in the face of drug use. If we get the young person to judge drugs as they areAs much for the physical, psychological and social integrity, we will make it possible that this one manages to refuse the consumption of any type of narcotic or addictive substance.
5. Encourage dialogue
Try to talk to teenagers, take an interest in their concerns, do not judge and gain their trust, Help them feel comfortable talking to us, telling us their problems. That way, it will be much easier for us to help them resolve them in a positive way and not have to resort to drugs as a way out or a way to avoid or forget them.
6. Don’t try to overprotect
Although this overprotection is nothing more than a reflection of the concern parents or acquaintances have about the habits of young people, these behaviors tend to be counterproductive.
Young people must perceive in their parents, relatives or guardians an attitude of acceptance, a place to turn to when they are feeling bad or anxious and, therefore, we must say that we are open to this but without causing overflow.
7. Don’t be bossy
At the beginning of the article, we pointed out that adolescence is characterized by being a time of rebellion, in which going against what is imposed or established is almost a vital necessity.
Therefore, authoritarian styles of education in which parents or guardians impose their opinion or lifestyle without compromise will not be at all effective in preventing drug use. In any case, it is always better to resort to dialogue and consensus.
8. Be consistent with our actions
We will seldom be able to prevent adolescents from using any type of drug if they are also used at home. Likewise, in order for the anti-drug message to be conveyed as effectively as possible, our attitude towards them must also be stable and consistent.