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Don't Sugar Coat Family History When it Comes to Alcohol

A difficult but necessary part of parenting is talking to children about the dangers of using drugs or alcohol. While many parents may not want to have that talk, it can help keep their kids educated and safe.

In the most recent Kansas Communities That Care Survey from 2020 in Clay County, in the last thirty days

  • Just over 29% of high school students reported drinking some alcohol.

  • 8% reported using marijuana

  • and 14% report vaping (or using e-cigarettes)

For students in grades 6-12 in Clay County, 40% report using alcohol at least once already. This means that, as a parent, your likelihood of dealing with some form of substance abuse or addiction-related issue with your child is uncomfortably high.

Youth Substance Abuse Risk Factors

Certain factors predispose the younger generation to abuse substances like alcohol and drugs. Admittedly, a lot of these are beyond your control. While you can’t do anything about those particular ones, just knowing that they exist helps you understand where your child stands when it comes to his or her specific risk of becoming a substance abuser.


There is a strong genetic component when it comes to substance abuse. A teen with either a parent or sibling who abuses alcohol is at four times a greater risk of developing the same issue.


Drug use among male youths is higher than it is for females for a number of drugs—marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogens, just to name a few. On the other hand, young females tended to use more non-medical psycho-therapeutic drugs than males in the same age range.

Existence of Mental Illness

The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that drug use and mental illnesses often go hand in hand. Either the drug use leads to a mental disorder by affecting the brain, the mental disorder leads to drug use (as in self-medicating), or both occur at the same time due to certain biological conditions or after experiencing some type of trauma or stress.

Behavior of Family and Friends

The Foundation For a Drug-Free World states that, when surveyed, 55 percent of the teens indicated that they began using drugs due to wanting to be “cool” around their friends. Family members who regularly use drugs or alcohol can have a similar effect as it teaches the youth that this type of behavior is acceptable.

Signs of Teen Substance Abuse

Some signs to look for to help determine if your child has a substance abuse problem are as followed:

  • Poor grades in school

  • No longer interested in things that used to excite him or her

  • Laughing for no apparent reason

  • Constantly tired

  • Bad personal hygiene

  • Reduced interest in personal appearance

  • Insatiable appetite at times

  • Bloodshot eyes

  • Avoids making eye contact with you

  • Smells like smoke

  • Fails to meet curfew

  • Exhibits behavior that suggests he or she has something to hide

Sources: kctcdata.org


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