How to Prevent Medicine Misuse
When a person starts using drugs early, their chances of developing an addiction increase. Drugs alter the brain. It is what causes addiction and other problems. Therefore, ensuring that children do not start using alcohol or drugs early can help in lowering these risks.
The risk of using drugs increases significantly during adolescence. For adults, drug use can be prompted by many factors. These can include a job loss or a divorce. For teenagers, risky times can include family divorce, changing schools, and moving. Advancing from elementary to middle school exposes a child to several and new family, social, and academic situations.
It’s during these transitions that children are easily exposed to addictive substances like alcohol and tobacco. In high school, children can have easy access to drugs. Social activities and older teens can also make drugs readily available to teens. If nothing is done to prevent medicine and substance misuse, teens can develop an addiction. This can be a reason of calling the Addiction Resource addiction helpline. It will be helpful to get information on addiction treatment from a hot number before entering a rehab. Such hotlines provide qualified help with drugs and alcohol addiction for free.
The Risk-Taking Tendency
Risk-taking is generally a normal part of development among teens. During adolescence, children want to try different and new things. They also want to be independent. However, this can also be the time when a teen will experiment with addictive substances.
The brain parts that control decision-making and judgement are not fully developed until a person is in the mid or early 20s. As such, the ability of teens to assess the risks of experimenting with drugs is limited. This makes teens more vulnerable because they can easily give in to peer pressure.
Since their brain is developing, its function in parts that are critical to learning, motivation, judgement, behaviour control, and memory can be disrupted. It’s for this reason that teens that use drugs and alcohol have social and family problem more often. They also perform poorly in academics and can have health-related issues that may include mental health problems. If a parent or guardian doesn’t call rehab or seek professional assistance, a teen can even be involved with a juvenile justice system.
Research-Based Programs for Preventing Youth Addiction
Several programs can be used to change the balance that exists between risks and the protective drug use factors in schools, families, and communities. A study has shown that research-based programs can reduce the early use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Although cultural and social factors affect substance use trends, young people reduce their use level when they perceive the habit as harmful.
Most protective programs focus on boosting protective factors while reducing or eliminating drug use risk factors. These programs have been designed for people of different ages. They can also be used in group settings and for individuals. The most common of these programs are Universal programs, Selective programs, and Indicated programs.
The universal programs address the protective factors and risks that are common to every child in any setting. These include the community or school. Selective programs target groups of teens or children with specific factors that increase their risk of using drugs. On the other hand, indicated programs are meant for the youth that is already using drugs. When adhered to properly, these programs can lower the risk of addiction and the need to call a drug hotline at any point.
Studying Young Brains
Research has associated adolescent substance use with alterations in brain function, structure, and neurocognition. Essentially, adolescence is a special neurodevelopment period in the life of a person. Therefore, using addictive substances during this time can lead to abnormalities in brain functioning and development.
Scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse aim at using imaging technology to study the interaction of any drug use with other childhood experiences, as well as, how the changing biology of a child affects brain development. They also want to know how these interactions affect behavioural, social, health, academic, and other outcomes. This study is aimed at providing important insights into the adolescence foundational aspects that shape the future of an individual. The findings of this study might help in preventing medicine misuse by teens and therefore, eliminate the possibility of having to call rehab numbers later in life seeking assistance.
The Bottom Line
Early drug and alcohol use increase the chances of developing an addiction. It can also lead to other mental health problems. As such, parents and guardians should implement measures that will prevent medicine misuse by their children, especially during adolescence when teens are likely to experiment with drugs. This will prevent the chances of addiction development and the need to call a drug hotline number when a child experiences problem like overdosing later in life.