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Strategies for Teen Substance Abuse Intervention

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Almost all public schools in Manhattan Beach display posters warning against drug abuse and alcohol consumption. Many Saturday morning cartoons encourage kids to say no to drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, most parents discuss the dangers of experimentation with drugs and alcohol with their children regularly.

It's easy to believe that teens in Manhattan Beach wouldn't choose substance abuse of any kind with so many anti-drug messages out there. Nevertheless, alcohol and drugs are still abused by young people.

Many parents realize their children's drug use after the problem has already gotten worse by the time they recognize it. There is a great risk of addiction associated with regular and prolonged drug use, especially among teens.

Why Teens Misuse or Abuse Drugs

Teen drug use in Manhattan Beach can be caused by multiple factors. In social settings with easy access to substances like alcohol and cigarettes, teens often try them. Insecurities or the desire to feel accepted might lead to continued use. Indestructible teens may not think about the consequences of their actions, thus putting themselves in danger by taking drugs.

The risk factors include:

  • Substance abuse in the family.

  • Depression, anxiety, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

  • Impulsive or risky behavior.

  • Traumatic experiences, such as car accidents or abuse.

  • The social rejection or low self-esteem.

The Need for Intervention

Teens whose parents have held brief conversations about addiction and who are still exhibiting negative behavior may need a more dramatic approach, such as an intervention in Hermosa Beach.

Intervention is a deeply structured conversation that comes after a significant amount of preparation, which is designed to overcome a teen's denial and lead him to treatment.

Interventions, for instance, should be conducted at a time when the teen will not be under the influence of alcohol.

Effective Strategies for Teen Drug Intervention

You should take action if you are concerned about your teen's use of drugs or alcohol. Even if they seem to be "just experimenting," it is never too early to intervene.

How to prepare for intervention is outlined in the following steps:

1. Learn about the intervention in advance

You should arm yourself with some facts about teenage drug use before starting the conversation. Prepare yourself to handle your teen's questions, as well as any counterarguments.

Learn about the dangers of teen drug use, and find out what your options are for teen rehab. You should also learn more about the disease of addiction. A drug user's brain is chemically altered by drugs.

Addiction is not something your teen chose - he or she did not know or believe it could happen at all. Often, teens do not consider the long-term consequences of their decisions due to their stage of brain development.

2. Have a level-head conversation

Your teen should be calm and sober as well. You should not intervene when you or your child are angry. The same applies if you or your child are drunk.

It is usually best to hold a teen intervention in the morning, on the weekend, when there are no deadlines. You want your child to be open and receptive to your point of view.

Try not to place blame. You shouldn't yell, scream, or cry at your teen. This may prevent them from listening. The result may also be overheated and emotionally charged conversations, which are rarely productive.

3. Be honest and open with your teen

Although it's good to have facts at hand, also be prepared to express your feelings. An intervention is about how you feel about your teen's drug use - how you feel about him or her. Your concern for your child's health and safety should be expressed to them.

The purpose of intervention is not to punish, but rather to protect against future dangers. Your teenager will also feel more comfortable opening up about their feelings if you do.

4. Do not accuse directly

Instead, ask open-ended questions. Interventions with teens should not function as lectures, either. Make sure to listen to your teen's story. Consider asking open-ended questions, such as, “Do you enjoy taking drugs? and What led you to begin using?”

Teenagers often use drugs due to peer pressure or to fit in with their peers, or because they have mental struggles like depression. Do not judge your teen's answers, regardless of how painful they may be.

5. Consult your partner

There is a good chance that your teen will tell you about substances if they do not share your beliefs and values. Before you intervene with your child, get on the same page with your spouse or partner. Although you may disagree on the issue, presenting a united front doesn't mean that you agree.

This can be a stressful time for both of you, so you will need each other's support during this time. Your partner should not be held responsible for the substance use, and should not be blamed for it. You and your partner should work together to address the problem, as it is no one's fault.

6. State clearly what you hope to accomplish

The "drug talk" isn't one single conversation - it is a series. Your first intervention might not solve all problems - and that's fine. Before you begin talking, set a goal - even a small one - so you know what you want your conversation to accomplish.

Will you suggest a therapist to your teen? Would you discourage binge drinking? Respect curfews? Your intervention should have a specific purpose, and then you should work toward achieving that purpose.

7. Anticipate how your teen will react

The idea of you bringing up drug or alcohol use with your teen will not be welcome. It's understandable. A liar, hypocrite, or snoop might not be what you expect. Prepare your response in case such accusations arise.

It is enough that you have a feeling something is wrong to start the conversation - you don't need hard evidence. You can assist your teen in telling the truth about whether or not they are using substances by referring to past incidents or observations during a conversation.

Bottom Line

Many teenagers are unaware they have a drug problem. At other times, teens lack the desire to change their ways. They may be apprehensive about seeking help. They may be worried about what other people will think.

Talking about drug abuse with your teen is never too soon. It is important to have health-related conversations with your teen today to prepare them for the future.

Your teen cannot handle this alone. You still need to teach him/her a lot about life and rational decision-making as they grow. The future is bright for them. It is up to you to help them. Youth intervention is a way to help. Parental involvement makes a huge difference here.

Is your child vaping, drinking, or smoking marijuana? Let our team help them detox and get back on track. Our experts will create a customized treatment plan and work side by side with you in the home, or virtually until independent short and long-term success has been achieved. If you’d like to learn more about our services, please click here.


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