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Strategies and Ideas to Assist in the Prevention of Drug Addiction

The prevention of drug addiction starts with education, because the younger children are educated and made aware of the dangers drugs hold, the more empowered they hopefully become as they get older to make better choices that will avoid them risking fire by trying drugs and so putting them at the risk of addiction in later life.

Whatever drug addiction prevention strategies one puts in place however, there are simply no guarantees that will prevent someone from going down the road of addiction. There are just too many variables at play from hereditary, genetic, personality and environmental factors to be able to prevent a person entirely from succumbing to drug addiction.

But by an ongoing process of education, and empowering young people to make healthy choices by nurturing their self-esteem, learning to establish healthy boundaries and developing effective emotional coping skills ... the risks of turning to drugs as they get older becomes greatly reduced.

Drug Addiction Prevention Starts at Home

Good parenting that provides children with a healthy, loving and supporting environment is where it all starts. It’s no surprise that the large majority of addicts come from troubled backgrounds and/or where a parent was also an addict.

A child that feels loved, has a healthy self-respect for themselves and others, and has clear boundaries provided as to what constitutes acceptable behaviour, is far more likely to go on and make healthy decisions that will prevent him/her ending up with an addiction to drugs. Of course there are also people who end up addicted who had all those things, but like with anything there is only so much a parent can do and nothing one does will totally guarantee success.

Prevention of Drug Addiction Through School Years

As children grow older and move through their school years, they become increasingly at risk. Addiction is starting younger and younger with kids as young as 11 becoming addicted to drugs - so this is a stage where extra attention needs to be provided. Kids are emotionally vulnerable moving and continuing into their teenage years, and peer pressure suddenly starts playing a massive role.

So ongoing education where the message of the harsh realities of drug addiction hit home hard need to be provided on an ongoing basis, both at school and at home. And just as crucially, really nurturing these kids and young adults to help them develop a good self-image, teaching them emotional coping skills, providing them avenues to express themselves through sports and cultural activities, and encouraging them to set firm boundaries so as not to be influenced by negative peer pressure, will help alleviate the growing problem of addiction in children and teenagers at school level.

And by producing healthy, well-adjusted and emotionally mature children at school level, those are attributes they’ll take with them into adult life (especially the high risk University years), which should result in a far lower likelihood of them ever going down the road of addiction in later life.

Just a side note here however – people underestimate the role alcohol plays as a gateway to using drugs. Now with the growing trend of binge drinking which tends to start at school level, also focusing on the prevention of alcoholism and applying many of the principles mentioned here regarding drugs, to alcohol as well, will result in fewer youngsters abusing and becoming addicted to drugs.

Yes, many addictions are formed only in adult years, but they tend to be a manifestation of underlying issues developed as children/teenagers. So the younger you start and put the correct foundations in place, the less likely addiction will develop in adulthood.

Role of the Media

The media today is a very powerful weapon, so by using it properly to constantly send out messages on the impact and dangers of drug addiction, more people will think twice before they use or abuse drugs and so put themselves at the risk of addiction. Unfortunately much of what the media conveys glamorises things like drug and alcohol abuse, which makes this difficult.

Also getting communities and families involved in taking an active stance in the fight and prevention of drug addiction, will go a long way in winning the war on drugs. But everything ultimately starts at home – educate and empower our children, and everything else will fall into place.

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