16-18 Year Olds

What types of drugs can the world of a 16-18 year old include?

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Tobacco, Alcohol, prescription drugs such as Ritalin, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Valium and Xanax, Inhalants, Marijuana, Ecstasy, Herbal Ecstasy, Cocaine/Crack, GHB, Heroin, Rohypnol, Ketamine, LSD, Mushrooms, Molly, Lean  

What to say to 16-18 Year Olds

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Conversations are one of the most powerful tools parents can use to connect with - and protect - their kids. But, when tackling some of life's tougher topics, especially those about drugs and alcohol, just figuring out what to say can be a challenge. The following scripts will help you get conversations going with your 16 to 18 year old. 


Scenario Your teen is starting high school - and you want to remind him that he doesn't have to give in to peer pressure to drink or use drugs. 


What to Say You must be so excited about starting high school!  Itss going to be a ton of fun, and we want you to have a great time. But we also know there's going to be some pressure to start drinking, smoking pot or taking other drugs. A lot of people feel like this is just what high school kids do. But not all high school kids drink! Many don't, which means it won't make you weird to choose not to drink, either. You can still have a lot of fun if you don't drink. You'll have a lot of decisions to make about what you want to do in high school and you might even make some mistakes. Just know that you can talk to us about anything - even if you DO make a mistake. We won't freak out. We want you to count on us to help you make smart decisions and stay safe, okay? 


Scenario Every time you ask your teen how his day was, you get a mumbled, -Whatever, it was okay,- in return. 


What to Say Skip asking general questions like "How's school?" every day. Instead, ask more specific questions on topics that interest both you and your teen ("Tell me about the pep rally yesterday." "Are there a lot of cliques in your school?" "Fill me in on your Chemistry lab test.") You can also use humor and even some gentle sarcasm to get the conversation flowing. Try, "Oh, what a joy it is to live with a brooding teenager!" to make your child laugh and start opening up a bit.  


Scenario Your high-schooler comes home smelling of alcohol or cigarette smoke for the first time. 


What to Say-The response should be measured, quiet and serious-“not yelling, shouting or overly emotional,"  says parenting expert Marybeth Hicks. Your child should realize that this isn't just a frustrating moment like when he doesn't do a chore you asked for; it's very big, very important, and very serious.- Say, "I'm really upset that you're smoking/drinking. I need to get a handle on how often this has been happening and what your experiences have been so far. I get that you're worried about being in trouble, but the worst part of that moment is over."  "I know that you're experimenting. The best thing you can do now is really be straight with me, so for starters, tell me about what happened tonight."


Scenario Your teen has started to hang out with kids you don't know - and dropped his old friends. 


What to Say It seems like you are hanging with a different crowd than you have in the past. Is something up with your usual friends? Is there a problem with [old friends names] or are you just branching out and meeting some new kids? Tell me about your new friends. What are they like? What do they like to do? What do you like about them?   


This information is taken from the Partnership for Drug Free Kids-Parent Toolkit: http://www.drugfree.org/the-parent-toolkit/age-by-age-advice/16-18-year-old-what-to-say/   


We're here to help: Our Parents Toll-Free Helpline 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373) is a nationwide support service that offers assistance to parents who want to talk to someone about their child’s drug use and drinking.    

Tips for talking to a 16-18 Year Old

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When it comes to drugs, teens are a savvy bunch. Drugs and messages about living drug-free have been part of their lives for years. They can make distinctions not only among different drugs and their effects, but also among trial, occasional use and addiction. They've witnessed many of their peers using drugs and some without obvious or immediate consequences, others whose drug use gets out of control. By the teen years, kids have also had to make plenty of choices of their own about drug use: whether they should give in to peer pressure and experiment with drugs, or go against some of their peers and stay clean. Here are 6 tips to help you help your teen cont inue to live a healthy, drug-free life:  

  1. Don't speak generally about drug- and alcohol-use.  Your older teen needs to hear detailed and reality-driven messages. Topics worth talking about with your teen: using a drug just once can have serious permanent consequences; can put you in risky and dangerous situations; anybody can become a  chronic user or addict; combining drugs can have deadly consequences.
  2. Emphasize what drug use can do to your teen's future. Discuss how drug use can ruin your teen's chance of getting into the college she/he's been dreaming about or landing the perfect job.
  3. Challenge your child to be a peer leader among his friends and to take personal responsibility for his actions and show others how to do the same.
  4. Encourage your teen to volunteer somewhere that he can see the impact of drugs on your community.   Teenagers tend to be idealistic and enjoy hearing about ways they can help make the world a better place. Help your teen research volunteer opportunities at local homeless shelters, hospitals or victim services centers.
  5. Use news reports as discussion openers. If you see a news story about an alcohol-related car accident, talk to your teen about all the victims that an accident leaves in its wake. If the story is about drugs in your community, talk about the ways your community has changed as drug use has grown.
  6. Compliment your teen for the all the things he does well and for the positive choices he makes. Let him know that he is seen and appreciated. And let him know how you appreciate what a good role model he is for his younger siblings and other kids in the community. Teens still care what their parents think. Let him know how deeply disappointed you would be if he started using drugs.

This information is taken from the Partnership for Drug Free Kids-Parent Toolkit: http://www.drugfree.org/the-parent-toolkit/age-by-age-advice/16-18-year-old-tips/     


We're here to help: Our Parents Toll-Free Helpline 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373) is a nationwide support service that offers assistance to parents who want to talk to someone about their child's drug use and drinking.