|Help is available. Call the SUD Access Line at 1 800-654-3937.
What is the best prevention??? You.
Anyone that has children knows how fast they grow up. As parents (caregivers) we all wish the best for them and try to protect them from making decisions that could damage their future.
A “risk factor” is anything that contributes to the development of a problem. Risk factors for SUDs fall in three broad categories; environmental, individual, and genetic (see examples below):
Knowing the common risk factors that contribute to SUDs is the first step in reducing the likelihood that a SUD will develop and it gives parents and caregivers an advantage when it comes to preventing the problem.
Working to help reduce risk factors is the first and best line of defense. Due to brain changes that happen through repeated toxic exposure to drugs/alcohol, SUDs are much harder to treat once they develop. SUDs can be brought into remission but there is no cure.
SUDs are medical problem. Like many medical problems there are warning signs and early indicators that a problem may be developing. Both SUDs and mental health issues involve the brain and therefore result in thinking and behavior changes that are often observable to others (see examples below).
Significant, sudden, long-term, and uncharacteristic changes in the behavior of an adolescent or young adult should be taken seriously and help should be sought, particularly when there are identifiable risk factors in the young person’s life.
This is where parents and caregivers come in. Just as there are risk factors that contribute to the development of SUDs, there are also protective factors that make the development of SUDs less likely to develop.
Protective FactorsA “protective factor” is anything that reduces the likelihood that a problem with occur. Just as risk factors contribute to potential harm in three broad categories (environmental, individual, and genetic), strengthening protective factors helps reduce the likelihood that a SUD will develop, thus reducing harm (see examples of protective factors below).
Many parents and caregivers do not think of themselves as a “protective factor” but they are the most potent and effective form of SUD prevention that there is. Even when children, adolescents, and young adults appear not be listening or paying attention they are.
Most of the protective factors listed above require involvement from at least one health parent/caregiver. Our youth look to us for direction and this requires that we understand the risks our youth face and how to insulate them through the use of protective measures.
This requires parents/caregivers to be knowledgeable about the issue, set boundaries in the home and outside the home, monitor activities and associates, maintain continuous dialogue with those under your care, and be willing to seek help yourself if you think you may be struggling with a SUD or Mental Health problem.
Help is available. If you feel that your child may be at risk, may need treatment, or as a parent you need help please contact the SUD Access Line at 1 800-654-3937 for a confidential screening.
Screenings may also be conducted through any of the three resources listed below.
Local Resources/Treatment Links
Genetics account for about half of a person's likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. Help young people reduce their risk of developing a substance use disorder by strengthening protective factors.
Communities play a key role in protecting adolescents from early substance use. Prevention efforts can be implemented by building coalitions and comprehensive strategies to reduce risk factors for substance use and addiction.
Also called a substance use disorder. Over 20 million people nationwide suffer from addiction. 1 in 7 people will experience addiction at some point in their life.
Learn about how substance use disorders affect tissue function in two main parts of the brain: the limbic system (responsible for basic survival instincts) and the prefrontal cortex (where decision-making and impulse control live).
Not everyone who uses alcohol or drugs develops a substance use disorder - why is that? People have different risk factors that make them more vulnerable to developing substance use disorders. These can be environmental or individual factors.