The Value of Prevention and Early Intervention in Adolescent Substance Use
Adolescents are five times more likely to develop a substance use disorder later in life. A person’s early years from the age of 12 to 20 is a critical period of growth and development, and an opportunity to instill knowledge and healthy experiences to help pave the way to a bright future. That’s why being proactive in substance use prevention and engaging in early intervention care is extremely beneficial for young adults and can help avert potential for addiction.
There are now a number of research-derived, effective and practical prevention tactics and interventions that can reduce not only the rates of addiction, but also the more prevalent rates of substance use-related car accidents, unwanted pregnancies, infectious disease and school drop-out – subsequent occurrences that often coincide with adolescent substance use.
Substance use issues are best addressed using a continuum of care approach, including wellness and prevention, early intervention, treatment, continuing care and supportive services. Understanding the value of taking preventative measures and intervening early if substance use is occurring is key to decreasing the occurrence of adolescent substance use. By trusting your intuition, getting informed and taking action, you and caring loved ones can play a role in reducing adolescent substance use.
It’s important to assess and improve a young adult’s overall well-being by focusing on the mind, body, and spirit. Enrolling a teen with a substance use disorder into intervention programs early and providing them with supportive services can help to reduce, or even eliminate the issue, as mentioned in the report “Paving the way to Change” by the Treatment Research Institute.
Research shows that certain adolescent populations are at a higher risk for developing a substance use problem than others, including those whose parents are receiving substance abuse treatment, those with a mental health disorder, for example. Early detection of substance use probability in an adolescent can help parents and guardians determine what kind of preventative measures should be taken. In an effort to prevent and reduce use, parents can look for signs of teenage drug or alcohol use, which may include things like changes in relationships with family members or friends, loss of inhibitions, unusual tiredness, secretive behaviors, etc.
How the Family Resource Center is Part of the Solution
Knowledge is powerful, but in order to obtain knowledge, the right tools need to be available. The Family Resource Center provides parents and caring loved ones with access to substance use prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery resources that are nationally recognized and scientifically informed. By using this informational hub, families, communities, and parents in search of resources about adolescent substance use and addiction can learn what they need to know to instill prevention, intervene early, find treatment and support recovery.
More information about prevention and early intervention can be found in the Treatment Research Institute’s report, “Paving the Way to Change: Advancing quality interventions for adolescents who use, abuse or are dependent upon alcohol and other drugs.”.