During the summer months, rates of drug and alcohol abuse increase significantly, especially among teens and young adults who are out of school and spend time unsupervised. MemorialDay through LaborDay is the time for barbecues, beach parties and BYOB get-togethers, and as a result, more people celebrate using recreational drugs and alcohol. This, in turn, usually translates into higher rates of drugged driving accidents, #emergency room visits, and arrests related to substance abuse.
In fact, the Healthy-Exchange.com (http://www.healthy-exchange.com/content/archives/addictive_teen_drug_summer.html) reports that 5,800 teens will smoke marijuana for the first time every day between May and August; an estimated 40 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 report that their first use of the drug was during this period. Also, the organization Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) (http://sadd.org/teenstoday/summerdriving.htm) report that more teenagers die in car accidents between June and September than other times of the year – and this doesn’t include the number of people who lost their lives when they met up with these and other young people under the influence on the road.
How can you protect yourself and your family this summer?
There are a number of different ways that you can protect yourself – both from harming yourself and others by your own substance abuse or from becoming a victim of someone else’s poor choices.
First, monitor your own drinking and drug intake. Don’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage every couple of hours, and if you’re out in the sun, make sure to be liberal with the sunscreen. Of course, if you are drinking, make sure that you have a designated driver.
If someone you care about is prone to erratic behavior when under the influence you can:
• Pay attention to how much they drink or if they abuse any substances and put some space between the two of you if he or she seems intoxicated.
• Ask someone else to drive you home if that person has your keys.
• If you feel that you are in danger in any way, ask for help.
Another option is to offer your loved one help in dealing with substance abuse if it’s a chronic problem. Some families find it useful to take pictures of them – or short videos – when they are under the influence in order to show them later exactly how they change. Many people don’t realize how out of control they are when they are drinking until they see the evidence.
Protecting Your Family
When kids are unsupervised during the summer, they may be more likely to find ways to amuse themselves that include substance abuse. You can help your kids make better choices by:
• Enrolling them in supervised activities during the summer
• Helping them find a summer job
• Knowing where they are at all times and checking in frequently
• Knowing whom your kids are spending time with
• Making it clear that you do not approve of or tolerate drug use of any kind
• Talking to your kids about how they can gracefully and safely exit situations where they are confronted with drugs and alcohol
If someone in your family is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you can help them overcome the problem by enrolling them in a treatment program. Contact us at Futures now to find out more about our comprehensive evaluation and diagnostic process that can set up your loved one for success in recovery.
Click here for further reading: http://www.futuresofpalmbeach.com/addiction-treatment/