The problem of alcohol, marijuana, and other drug abuse and prescription medication misuse has garnered significant attention nationally and in RI as a result of the opioid epidemic. In the words of several of the people interviewed for the South County needs assessment, the opioid epidemic shows that no one is immune from substance abuse and the problems it causes for individuals, families, and communities.
While the opioid crisis is truly significant and important, the South County Prevention Coalition's Needs Assessment indicates that alcohol and marijuana use is significantly more widespread than opiates and their all too often lethal effect.
Stress amongst our youth and young adults is seemingly rampant and unaddressed.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a significant issue in South County.
The mere talk of legalizing marijuana is changing norms amongst adults and youth.
There is a disconnect between parents and their children as it relates to communication around alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use.
There is a disconnect between needs and resources when it comes to accessing treatment services.
Count It. Lock It. Drop It! Have you!?
Communicate the importance of healthy behaviors and establish clear and specific rules about not using marijuana and other drugs. This can be part of a broader conversation about expectations like:
• Doing chores • Following parental rules
• Following laws and school regulations • Bedtimes
• School and class attendance • Curfews
• Showing respect for family members
Provide consistent negative consequences for not meeting the guidelines. Remember to provide compliments for good choices and healthy behavior.
What to say:
“It is important to our family that we all stay healthy and safe. One way to do this is to avoid drug use, including marijuana. This is especially important for teenagers since marijuana can harm the developing brain. That’s why we have a family rule against using marijuana. If we find out you are using drugs, what do you think a fair consequence would be?”
Keep track of your child.
• Monitor your teen’s behavior to ensure the rules are being followed.
• Remain actively involved in your teen’s life and get to know his or her friends.
• Network with other parents so that you may support one another to keep your children away from drugs.
Keep lines of communication open.
• Eat dinner together.
• Do fun family activities together.
• Communicate the way your teen does (texting, email, Facebook, Twitter).
Alateen Meetings in Rhode Island If addiction or alcoholism is affecting your family you are invited to an alateen meeting.
Kathy Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Yeager email@example.com