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Parents key to preventing substance abuse in their children

May 26, 2013 at 7:35 PM   |   Comments

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ROCKVILLE, Md., May 26 (UPI) -- More than 1-in-5 parents say they have little influence in preventing teens from using illicit substances, but surveys prove them wrong, a U.S. agency says.

A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found 22 percent of U.S parents of children ages 12-17 said they had little influence on whether or not their child uses illicit substances, tobacco or alcohol.

The annual survey involved 67,500 Americans age 12 or older.

Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of SAMHSA, said national surveys of youths 12-17 show those who believe their parents would strongly disapprove of their substance use were less likely to use substances. For example, 5 percent of current marijuana users said their parents would strongly disapprove of their trying marijuana once or twice versus 31.5 percent of current marijuana who did not perceive this level of parental disapproval.

"Surveys of teens repeatedly show that parents can make an enormous difference in influencing their children's perceptions of tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drug use," Hyde said in a statement. "Although most parents are talking with their teens about the risks of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, far too many are missing the vital opportunity these conversations provide in influencing their children's health and well-being. Parents need to initiate age-appropriate conversations about these issues with their children at all stages of their development in order to help ensure that their children make the right decisions."

The report, "1 in 5 Parents Think What They Say Has Little Impact on Their Child's Substance Use," is available at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2K13/Spotlight/Spot081-Parents.pdf.

Topics: Marijuana
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