How can parents prevent drug use?
Clear communication by parents about the negative physical, emotional, and functional effects of drugs, as well as about their expectations regarding drug use have been found to significantly decrease substance abuse in teens. Adequate parental supervision has also been found to be a deterrent to drug use in youth. Specifically, parents knowing how, where, and with whom adolescents socialize, as well as limiting their children's access to substances that can be abused have been associated with less teenage drug use. Limiting the amount of alcohol, cleaning solutions (inhalants), prescription, and over-the-counter medications that are kept in the home to amounts that can be closely monitored and accounted for has also been found to decrease substance abuse by teens.
Family focused abuse-prevention programs have produced reductions in adolescent drug abuse. Among ethnic minorities in the United States (for example African Americans, Hispanic, Native and Asian Americans), those who strongly identify with their communities and cultures have been found to be less likely to experience risk factors for using drugs compared to their peers who are less connected to their communities and cultures. Therefore, incorporation of a cultural component to drug-abuse prevention programs may enhance the effectiveness of those programs. Moreover, teens 15 to 16 years old who use religion to cope with stress tend to use drugs significantly less often than their peers who do not use religion to cope.
Alcohol and other drug use has been found to occur most often between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., immediately after school and prior to parents coming home from work. Teen participation in extracurricular activities has therefore been revealed as an important measure in preventing substance abuse in this age group.