As youth drug and alcohol abuse continues to grow, many parents say they are uninformed — and largely unconcerned — about the threat to their children.
So finds a new nationwide survey commissioned by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the nation’s largest nonprofit addiction treatment provider.
“These startling findings suggest that some parents are under-concerned about the dangers of alcohol and other drug use by their children and are overly confident they would recognize signs of their children’s use,” said Audrey Klein, PhD, executive director of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Butler Center for Research. “This is particularly worrisome given the consequences of teen alcohol and other drug abuse — including poor performance in school, a higher rate of accidents, unintentional overdoses, violence, sexual trauma and legal issues — and, unfortunately in some cases, even death.”
Research has shown that parental involvement is an effective way to prevent chemical use and addiction among you. Yet this national survey revealed a remarkable lack of parental awareness and concern about this important issue. Among the key findings of the poll are:
Most doctors lack training in identifying substance abuse. Less than 20 percent of primary care physicians consider themselves “very prepared to identify alcohol or drug dependence,” compared to more than 80 percent who are very comfortable diagnosing hypertension and diabetes, according to the National Center on Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
Resources are available for parents to educate themselves on how to recognize signs of drug use and discuss the issue with their kids on the Hazelden webpage: •Adolescent and Young Adult Addiction Handouts •Talking with kids about alcohol and drugs
Thom Kessler, LMFT, RAS
Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Addiction Specialist