The National Substance Abuse Prevention Month initiative was started by the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2011. 9 out of 10 people who abuse or are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a list of resources for helping parents, caregivers, teens, and children for learning about drug safety and drug use prevention.
Recognizing Drug Use in Adolescents:
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has developed a guide for recognizing drug use in adolescents. Pipes, rolling papers, syringes, razor blades, latex balloons, empty medicine bottles, small vials, plastic baggies, and altered soda cans are just some of the things they list that may be connected to illicit drug use. Adolescents may have ready access to illicit drugs at school, in the community, or even through family members. Signs of intoxication and use vary from drug to drug, so please visit this guide for more information. https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources//recognizing_drug_use_in_adolescents.pdf
Trauma and Substance Abuse:
One in four children experience one potentially traumatic event before the age of 16. Most of these young people also have access to substances that they may reach out to dull the effects of stress or trauma. According to the NCTSN, 29 percent of adolescents have experimented with illegal drugs and 41 percent have consumed alcohol by the time they complete 8th grade. In surveys of adolescents being treated for substance abuse, over 70% of them had been exposed to some kind of trauma. Trauma can lead to substance abuse, and substance abuse can lead to trauma in a vicious cycle. It is vital that these adolescents be treated with an integrated approach to both substance abuse and trauma.
For help with any situations such as these, please contact a mental health professional.