Studies show that teens whose parents talk to them about the dangers of drug or alcohol abuse are 50 percent less likely to experiment with harmful substances. On the other hand, adults who abuse substances themselves are much more likely to raise children who also abuse drugs.

Unfortunately, many children today grow up in households where their parents do not talk to them about drugs and alcohol, or worse, model bad behavior by using drugs themselves. These are the children that need to be reached by other methods of prevention. Schools provide substance abuse education that reaches some, and public service ads can reach others, but in many cases, these young people need a better, more regular influence to keep them off drugs.

Providing Mentoring and Positive Influences

While any anti-drug communication can be helpful, real education and awareness occur when the message comes from someone the child knows and respects. There are many programs that are doing just that. Churches, youth centers, recreation leagues and mentoring programs help keep kids safe from drugs, alcohol, and other dangers. Not only do programs like this keep kids busy and away from others who are doing drugs, but they provide positive influences from adults who have formed a bond with the kids.

Setting a Good Example

Programs like this provide youth with the education and the motivation to stay sober that many kids do not get at home. These adult mentors know that if parents are not going to step up and talk to kids about the dangers of drugs, teens need to hear the message somewhere else, from an individual they trust.

It is important to support local youth centers and programs that mentor to youth who do not have a positive influence at home. Not only do these programs help kids do better in school and plan for their future, but they keep teens away from drug and alcohol abuse.