The teenage years can be difficult
for youngsters and their parents. Puberty is the time that the
body changes, making boys into men and girls into women. It is
also a time when teens are tempted by drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Parents and teachers must warn adolescents about the health
dangers they face if they use drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
If a child or teenager is already trying drugs, you can help him
or her before the problem gets worse. You need to be aware of
the drugs that are available. You should also know how to
identify drug use by recognizing tell-tale signs in a person’s
behaviour. Then you can talk openly with them about it.
Marijuana is still the most commonly used illegal drug among
students. In 1995, more than one-third of U.S. high school
seniors said they were smoking marijuana. Many teens get high
with things that are available in the home and most stores, such
as glue. Studies show that the use of alcohol remains strong and
that young people are smoking more.
Use of illegal drugs may cause a student to have problems in
school, increase the possibility of injuries and lead to more
harmful drug use. Early intervention means dealing with a
teenager’s drug problem as soon as possible, before it gets
worse. This can prevent some of the serious effects of drug
abuse, including legal and medical problems.
Research by organizations like the Partnership for a Drug-Free
America shows that kids use drugs less when they have adults who
talk to them about drug use. This information should come from
parents, school teachers, counsellors, community groups and
public service announcements. ”Parents are the ones who have the
dominant voice and they’ve got to talk to their kids about drug
use,” says Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the National Drug
Control Policy Office.
A counsellor in a high school said after years of working with
teenagers: ”Nothing good comes out of experimenting with drugs.
If we could just show kids what they will look and feel like
after poisoning their bodies, if we could just show kids what
will happen to their grades, their health, their prospects of
making money, their self-image and self-confidence, they would
never start. If there was ever a job for ”virtual reality,” this
is it. If parents carefully watch the school performance of
their children, they will be able to spot drug use very early.”