Being a teen and saying no to alcohol and drugs is never easy. The Portage County Substance Community Coalition has put together some tips for teens to use to stay safe.
1. Choose like-minded friends. Avoid peer pressure by hanging out with friends who also disagree with underage drinking and using drugs.
2. Make your parents the bad guys. Parents do not mind being labeled the bad guys when it comes to staying away from underage drinking. Tell classmates that your parents will ground you or take away your phone if you are caught drinking or using drugs.
3. Use sports as an excuse. Remind your friends that you will be kicked off the team for using drugs or alcohol. Plus, a healthy body is important to you.
4. Suggest better plans. What if your best friend wants to go to a party where you know everyone will be drinking? Come up with a different idea. Say, “I’d rather shoot hoops (or play Xbox or go shopping). Want to come?”
5. Bring your own drink. Keep a bottled drink like a soda or iced tea with you to drink at parties. People will be less likely to pressure you to drink alcohol if you’re already drinking something.
6. Street drugs can be fatal. Lethal doses of drugs are on the street and people are dying. Your life is too important.
7. Make an escape plan. If you end up in a dangerous situation, get out fast. Make up code words to text a parent or trusted adult. To them, your safety is always first priority.
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to share these tips with their children.
“Without a doubt, parents can have the greatest influence on their child’s decision about using alcohol and drugs,” said Joel Mowery, PhD, executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County. “In fact, children of parents who talk with them about alcohol and drugs are up to fifty percent less likely to use.”
Adults can sign up for the Know! Parent Tips through the state of Ohio’s drug prevention website, Start Talking at http://starttalking.ohio.gov/
The Portage County Substance Abuse Community Coalition is a group of organizations and individuals dedicated to preventing and treating substance use disorders. For more information visit www.mental-health-recovery.org