Many young adults are exposed to alcohol, tobacco and marijuana either in the home, at school or at parties by the time they are in middle school. These three substances are the most popular “gateway drugs”. A gateway drug is a drug that literally opens the door to the use of other harder drugs. They are generally easy to get a hold of from the parent’s liquor cabinet or from older friends, and are not too expensive. The theory is that sometimes adolescents will try one of these gateway drugs, become hooked and then crave something that gets them higher like methamphetamines, cocaine or heroine.
These readily available drugs seem harmless to young adults because they see their parents drinking alcohol and they are fine, or they don’t realize how addictive they can be. They attract non-users and get them started down a path that they should never have gone down. As parents, what can we do to help eradicate underage substance abuse?
Obvious steps can be taken like locking the liquor cabinet, but most importantly it is our responsibility to educate our children about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use. The earlier we start the conversation with our kids, the better. Most public schools across the country participate in Red Ribbon week which is a week devoted to publicizing the negative effects of alcohol and drug use and to get kids on board to just say “no”. By the fifth grade, many schools bring in a program sponsored by the police department. An officer dressed in uniform will come in and talk to students over a period of a few weeks about the risks of getting involved with drugs.
To supplement this discussion, a highly beneficial tool is to enroll adolescents in online drug and alcohol education classes. Online classes are of utmost importance for children who may be exposed to these drugs because a child that is unaware of the consequences surrounding these drugs is more prone to be open to trying them. It is a proactive approach to deal with the subject before it becomes an issue. It is much easier for teenagers to just say no if they are aware of the problems associated with these particular drugs. Hearing stories of DUI deaths, health problems associated with drug use and potential overdose may seem harsh at first, but research shows that this education helps deter kids from making that first choice to just try it once.
Online drug and alcohol classes will professionally and appropriately teach children and teenagers all about the risks of substance abuse, the path it can lead you down and the repercussions faced by many drug users. They are easy to take from any Internet based computer in the comfort of your own home. There is nothing to download, the child simply scrolls through the class, takes a multiple choice quiz at the end of each chapter and a final exam that encompasses all the material at the end of the course. Parents can sit with the child while they take the course to talk about any questions that arise. Instead of watching a child's life suffer at the hands of a youthful mistake, help prevent them from harming themselves. An 8 hour drug and alcohol education course is key to keeping your children safe and substance free!