Three Tips for Keeping Teens Safe from Addiction During Summer

happy group of teens in the summer sun

There is great truth to the old adage, “Idle hands are the Devil’s playthings.” When people have little or nothing to do with their time, they can be expected to find something to do, and it will not always be a good thing. This is especially true of teenagers, who will soon be let out of school for the summer vacation and will suddenly be freed up from the demands of waking up early, spending most of the day at school and then laboring into the evening at their homework while also trying to balance the other activities in their lives. The moment that school lets out for summer break, many of these teens will find their days wide open to do whatever they please.

There is a significant risk that they will start drinking or using drugs and that this could lead to addiction and other tragic consequences. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the summer months of June, July and August see the highest rates of fatal car accidents among teens aged 15-19 years old, and many of these accidents may be attributed to the use of drugs or alcohol. What can you as a parent do to keep your teens safe from addiction this summer? Here are three tips which may help:

Tips From Narconon On Keeping Teens Safe

There are many tips that can aid in preventing drug use amongst teens. These include:

1. Help Them Get a Job

The “summer job” is a teenage tradition dating back decades, and it is very often a rite of passage. Finding a job to work at during the summer is perhaps less common now, with more teens choosing to spend their summer days inside playing video games and surfing the internet, but it is something which can be of great value to any young person. To begin with, there is the simple fact that your teen will have less free time. Even a part-time job can eat up a considerable portion of the weekly schedule. Your teen can also enjoy a boost in self-confidence based on the fact that he or she is now entering the adult world, living up to obligations outside of the house and performing a valuable service. Getting paid a weekly wage can also give your teen a boost in self-esteem, and as he or she is more capable of affording purchases, your teen is likely to experience a spark of purpose and drive.

Holding down a job can also serve to distract your teen from the “problems” which young people so often find themselves getting wrapped up in. Finding a job may be more difficult in today’s economic recession or depression, but your teen can experience the same or even greater benefits from volunteering with a community service organization which provides help to a cause that he or she cares about.

2. Make Sure They Know About All Kinds of Drugs

No doubt your teen knows that marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are drugs. What he or she may not realize is that many of the prescription medications which are so widespread in America today are at least as dangerous as street drugs, and some of them even more so. Adderall and Ritalin, for example, are chemically identical or similar to speed and cocaine, respectively. Prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin are both derived from opium and as such, they are cousins to heroin. Many teens start abusing prescription drugs, thinking that because they come from doctors and have FDA approval they are somehow less dangerous. Similarly, there is an increasing trend among young people of using the new synthetic drugs such as bath salts and synthetic marijuana. These drugs are frequently marketed as “herbal incense,” “plant food” and “bath salts.” Despite their innocuous sounding names, they are powerful drugs which can have harmful side effects. Make sure that your teen understands that all of these substances are drugs and are no safer than any other type of drug

3. Spend More Time With Them

While your teens may have enormous amounts of free time during the summer, you still have to work. You should not, however, pass on the opportunity to spend more time with your children over the summer months. Find a way to fit more family time into your busy schedule, both in the evenings during the week and on the weekends. By doing so, you will be increasing the level of parental supervision which your teens receive, since you will be able to ask them more about what is going on in their lives and will have a chance to spot warning signs when they come up. You will also have the opportunity to form closer bonds with your children.

Every moment spent playing a board game, hiking, playing sports outside, working on a project around the house, cooking a meal or doing anything else together is a moment when you can build a stronger relationship with your children. They will feel more loved and supported and will know that they can come to you for help, rather than turning to drugs or alcohol when they feel stressed. They will also feel more motivation to avoid doing things which would let you down, including engaging in chemical substance use. Today’s busy world makes it harder for mothers and fathers to really be parents to their children, but you can use the summer break to spend more time with your kids and to help them stay away from drinking and drugs.



Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.