A Drug- and Alcohol-Free Summer for Teens

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Yesterday was the last day of school. And young people all over NYC are getting ready to enjoy the freedom of summer vacation. Unfortunately, as school-year stress melts away, accountability, structure, supervision, stimulation, focus, and even brain cells soften due to inactivity.

Research has shown that more young people experiment with drugs and alcohol in June and July than at any other time of the year.

According to research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 11,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 use alcohol for the first time on an average day in June or July.

So what can you do to help your teen avoid experimenting with substances during the summer? Here are a few tips that might help.

  1. Talk to your teen about the dangers of substance abuse: Research shows that parents can have a tremendous impact on their children, even though it may not seem like it.
  2. Help your teen avoid boredom: Encourage your teen to volunteer at a local shelter, community center, child camp, nursing home, or some other organization. Help them get a job lifeguarding, babysitting, or even working at a local grocery store.
  3. Make the most of your time off. When you don’t have to work, schedule activities that involve all family members. Teens and preteens who regularly spend time with family are less likely to use drugs and alcohol.

Parents are not helpless bystanders during this high-risk time. They’re the first line of defense when it comes to reducing the chances that their teens will drink or use other substances. To learn more www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking.

For more information, contact Ronni Katz, Sarah Redfield, or Venus Moore at the NYC Prevention Resource Center.

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