Watch particularly closely during times of transition, such as a divorce, changing schools or breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Research shows that regular monitoring and a close parent-child relationship can cut the risk of drug use.
Other denial tactics are more subtle. For example, parents may set rules about substance use but leave the medicine cabinet unlocked and loaded with addictive drugs. Every day, an average of 2,000 teens misuse prescription drugs for the first time, the majority of whom take drugs from their own homes or their friends’ homes. Many teens report that prescription drugs are easier to buy then beer. Still, a recent survey shows that despite growing awareness about prescription drug addiction and the risk of overdose, most parents say they aren’t all that concerned about their child.
Even the brightest, most mature teens can make bad decisions about drugs and alcohol. In fact, smart teens may be at even greater risk of substance abuse than their peers. The brain isn’t fully matured until around age 25 – we can’t expect teens to make adult decisions when they’re operating with adolescent machinery.