Addressing drug and alcohol peer pressure

We often think that kids pressure other kids into trying tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. But the reality is that kids tend to start using to avoid feeling different or being left out.

Start a Dialog

  • Talk indirectly—but keep talking...
  • Mention something you learned about [drug]and ask their opinion.-Encourage them to talk about what they did on the weekend. (Were kids smoking, drinking, or doing drugs?)
Other door openers:
  • Talk about movies or TV shows that show druguse and ask thier opinion about thechoices made by characters
  • Keep them talking to help them develop critical thinking skills needed to make smarter decisions about using.
What to Avoid
  • Just listen. Don't offer advice unless they ask you for it directly.

Things to consider

Look for Warning Signs Physical signs
  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
  • Tremors, slurred speechor impaired coordination
Behavioral signs
  • Drop in attendance
  • Unexplained need for money; may borrow or steal to get it
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)
Psychological signs
  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude-Sudden mood swings, irritability or angry outbursts
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitationor giddiness
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason

Where to get help

From HELPGUIE.ORG - Drug Abuse and Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drug Problems and Substance Abuse

The Bigger Picture

Attitudes toward drug use, especially marijuana use, have grown more lenient in recent years; leading us to underestimate the harms of drug use, especially by young people. There is also a lack of knowledge about how any drug, including alcohol, affects the vulnerable teen brain. For these reasons, starting a conversation with your preteen mentees about drug and alcohol use is imperative.

From The Blog

The Chroncile of Evidence-based Mentoring

Peer mentoring: An effective vehicle for promoting healthy behaviors
We know that quality youth mentoring programs have been shown to promote a myriad of positive outcome for youth.  However, little focus has been placed on the ability of youth mentoring programs to promote positive health behaviors among adolescents.  Thus, this review article focuses on the ways in which peer mentoring can be used to promote health behavior in a school-setting, while also highlighting the benefits of peer mentoring amongst adults.

2014’s Monitoring the Future survey of drug use and attitudes among American 8th, 10th, and 12th graders continued to show encouraging news about youth drug use.