Risk factors of drug and alcohol abuse

In Parent / Caregiver by admin

Look around at your teen’s group of friends and peers. Do you know which ones are at risk for using drugs or alcohol? The answer is simple – all of them; however, there are several risk factors which can increase your teen’s chances of using drugs or alcohol. Fortunately, there are also protective factors which can decrease their risk.

Risk factors are a set of circumstances or events which might increase your teen’s desire to try drugs or alcohol. The more risk factors present, the higher the chance your teen will at least experiment with drugs/alcohol. These risk factors include:

  • Poor grades in school
  • Victims of bullying
  • Low self-esteem
  • A family member who is an addict
  • Living in a community with a high tolerance for smoking, drinking and drug use, especially among teens
  • Attendance at a school with little to no policies regarding tobacco, alcohol and drug use or inconsistent enforcement of the policies

A protective factor is a preventative measure to help your teen say no when the time comes. Protective factors include:

  • Experiencing a strong bond with a parent or caregiver
  • High self-esteem
  • Parents who communicate regularly with their teen about drugs
  • Being active in extracurricular activities such as athletics, community service or church
  • Positive role models who do not use drugs, alcohol or tobacco
  • Involvement in healthy activities with managed risk, such as rock climbing or martial arts
  • Activities where drugs and alcohol are prohibited
  • Attending a school with a strong no-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol

It is impossible for you to control all of the risk and protective factors when it come to your teen, but you can control them in your home. You can also work to effect them in your community.