8.5.4 Prevention and Control

The age-old adage of ‘prevention is better than cure’ holds true here also. It is also true that habits such as smoking, taking drug or alcohol are more likely to be taken up at a young age, more during adolescence.

Hence, it is best to identify the situations that may push an adolescent towards use of drugs or alcohol, and to take remedial measures well in time. In this regard, the parents and the teachers have a special responsibility.

Parenting that combines with high levels of nurturance and consistent discipline, has been associated with lowered risk of substance (alcohol/drugs/tobacco) abuse.

Some of the measures mentioned here would be particularly useful for prevention and control of alcohol and drugs abuse among adolescents

  • Avoid undue peer pressure - Every child has his/her own choice and personality, which should be respected and nurtured. A child should not be pushed unduly to perform beyond his/her threshold limits; be it studies, sports or other activities.
  • Education and counselling - Educating and counselling him/ her to face problems and stresses, and to accept disappointments and failures as a part of life. It would also be worthwhile to channelise the child’s energy into healthy pursuits like sports, reading, music, yoga and other extracurricular activities.
  • Seeking help from parents and peers - Help from parents and peers should be sought immediately so that they can guide appropriately. Help may even be sought from close and trusted friends. Besides getting proper advise to sort out their problems, this would help young to vent their feelings of anxiety and guilt.
  • Looking for danger signs - Alert parents and teachers need to look for and identify the danger signs discussed above. Even friends, if they find someone using drugs or alcohol, should not hesitate to bring this to the notice of parents or teacher in the best interests of the person concerned. Appropriate measures would then be required to diagnose the malady and the underlying causes. This would help in initiating proper remedial steps or treatment.
  • Seeking professional and medical help - A lot of help is available in the form of highly qualified psychologists, psychiatrists, and deaddiction and rehabilitation programmes to help individuals who have unfortunately got in the quagmire of drug/alcohol abuse.

With such help, the affected individual with sufficient efforts and will power, can get rid of the problem completely and lead a perfectly normal and healthy life.

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