Empower Parents

From SAFE Solutions
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Introductory Paragraph

Parents have a significant influence on whether or not their children choose to use drugs. There are a wide variety of resources and programs that are available to assist parents in building developmental assets and possibly reduce the likelihood of children using substances. Having children can be physically, financially, and emotionally challenging for many parents, especially when trying to ensure a drug-free future. Utilizing resources may assist parents in providing a hopeful future and eliminate risks that may be detrimental to kids' overall health and wellness. Parents can inadvertently send messages to their children that may confuse them about the family stance on drug use. For example, not having clear communication about drug use, using substances with or around children, and watching television shows or movies that depict drug use can sometimes detrimentally impact children and put them at a greater risk of using substances in the future. Parents can empower themselves and set clear expectations regarding drug use by engaging in programs and becoming proactive in their parenting approach [1].

Key Information

Parent's Role in Prevention and Recovery

Parental influence is one of the most important factors of a child’s development. Parents have the ability to instill powerful values, create positive safety nets, and lessen the risk factors that youth face every day. Studies have found that increased parental involvement can greatly impact the life-course outcomes of children by providing a solid foundation for positive behaviors, limiting mental health issues, and preventing the onset of substance abuse. Substantial research has highlighted the importance of self-control, mental health, school readiness skills, and secure attachment during the most vulnerable periods of development in childhood. While substance use usually begins in adolescence, there are known biological, psychological, social, and environmental risk factors that can begin even before birth. Parents can combat these risk factors by providing a stable home environment, adequate nutrition, physical and cognitive stimulation, and supportive parenting techniques in order to positively impact their children’s overall mental and physical health [2]. Parental involvement is also a key factor in the lives of youth going through the recovery process. An article by Recovery First, an American Addiction Center treatment facility, states “Parents play an instrumental part in the drug addiction treatment or alcohol rehabilitation of their dependent child. In fact, most rehab centers report that it is often the mother or father who initiates treatment for their minor” [3]. The parent’s support and involvement in treatment are potentially life-saving in the recovery process.

Consistency is Key

Youth who believe their parents would strongly disapprove of their use of marijuana is far less likely to have used it in the last month than youth who don’t receive such messages from their parents. The difference is 4.3 percent versus 31 percent, respectively [4]. When school prevention programs are supported by families, peers, and the community all sending the consistent message that drug use is not tolerated, it can have a powerful effect on young people.

Parents Can Influence Use of Prescription Opioids

In many cases, doctors, dentists, and oral surgeons are still prescribing opioids to teens more often. Many parents, especially parents of student-athletes, may not realize the risks. One way to mitigate this issue is for doctors and pharmacists to educate parents on the risks of prescription opioids and encourage parents to work with their medical providers to reduce the possibility of their children misusing prescription pain medications [5]. Research shows that youth who are prescribed opioids before graduating from high school are 33 percent more likely to misuse prescription opioids after graduation [6]. Parents and caregivers can drastically reduce the risk of opioid misuse by having a strong, open, and honest relationship with their children.

Relevant Research

Adolescent substance use places a large burden on parents, communities, criminal justice systems, medical facilities, and the economy [7]. Physical and behavioral health care costs are substantially higher in individuals who have a substance use disorder. In the mid-1990s and early 2000s, the economic cost of substance abuse was over $360 billion in the United States. In 2013, the federal budget request for substance use programs, law enforcement, drug interdiction, and other related costs was over $26 billion. This led lawmakers to consider incorporating alternative prevention strategies aimed at assisting parents with the skills necessary to prevent child maltreatment and enhance parent-child relationships [8].

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has published research that discusses how the actions, choices, and lifestyle of parents can impact their children significantly. A child’s temperament can make parenting easier or harder. Children with easier temperaments are more responsive to parent interaction, adjust well to routine, and may lead to a strong parent-child relationship. However, highly reactive infants can increase parental stress, frustration, impatience, and may be more susceptible to neglect abuse, and negative family dynamics. Early interventions for parents can aid in assisting parents to develop appropriate expectations of infants, strengthen parenting skills, and help parents learn skills to cope with frustrating situations [9].

Programs that focus primarily on education and skills training may promote positive development and proper parenting skills that encourage healthy attachment, love, effective discipline techniques, and healthy communication [10]. These protective factors have proven to yield positive outcomes such as reducing teen pregnancy, decreasing school failure, and preventing substance use. Aside from offering effective prevention, family interventions also lead to positive impacts in adulthood by improving job performance, mental health, and goal attainment.

Impactful Federal, State, and Local Policies

SAFE Solutions is an ever-growing platform. Currently, limited information is readily available for this section. SAFE Project is dedicated to providing communities with the most relevant and innovative materials. We will continue to regularly monitor and make updates accordingly with community input and subject matter expert collaboration. Please check back soon.

Available Tools and Resources

Books from the DEA
DEA Books
The DEA produced two books, "Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent's Guide to Prevention" and "Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Abuse Medicine." Copies of each resource can be found in Tools & Resources.[11]

This is a hotline that allows parents to speak to other trained parents about substance abuse issues.[12]

Drug Prevention Resources
Drug Prevention Resources has an abundance of tools and resources to help parents to reduce the likelihood of their kids using drugs.

Family Life's Art of Parenting
FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting FREE online course gives parents a simple vision and creative ways to make faith the core of their parenting.[13]

Fathers' Uplift
Fathers' Uplift empowers fathers to overcome barriers and become positively engaged in their children's lives. [14]

Get Smart About Drugs
This is a website federally funded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for parents, educators, and caregivers that provides resources and a database for information in both English and Spanish. The website provides valuable information about talking to children about substance use, guides to getting treatment, and provides culture-based prevention resources [15].

SAMHSA National Hotline"'
The SAMHSA national hotline  is a confidential, free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing men and/or substance use disorders. They also provide many links with helpful information to help families and individuals answer important questions about drug abuse and recovery [16].

Promising Practices

Safe Homes Network and App

Originated near Scottsdale, Arizona, Safe Homes Network is an application that allows parents to know where their kids are when they go to a party. When the child goes to a party the parent can check on the app. to see whether or not the house is registered in the directory. If so, parents can contact that head of house and make sure they know whether or not a party is occurring. The system is set up to act like a barrier for alcohol and drug consumption to happen under people's roofs.

  To become a Safe Homes member, you must:
  1. Parents sign a pledge not to allow underage drinking or drug use in their home.
  2. Parents' contact information is entered into the Safe Homes Network database.
  3. Parents download the Safe Homes Network App to their phone or tablet and check it when their child is invited to a party or gathering where they don't know the parents.

 Since the Fountain Hills, AZ coalition started the Safe Homes Network, there has been a 44 percent decrease in the past 30-day use of alcohol, a 37 percent decrease in marijuana use and a 51 percent decrease in prescription drug abuse.[17]

Parent involvement is critical in preventing teen substance use. As a parent, it can be extremely difficult to talk about drug use with your kids in an engaging and effective way. Whether you suspect there's already a problem or you want to help make sure there is never a problem, Gobi can help.

Gobi is the only online prevention program designed by professionals and young adults for teens and their families. Gobi is based on the proven principles of professional drug and alcohol prevention. It’s designed specifically for teens, and it speaks their language—using a tool they already have in hand. Every day for 21 days teens get an email assignment on their smartphone and it takes only 5 minutes per day. Several times a week they get a supportive text message that is meant to be irreverent, humorous, cynical, and just offensive enough to keep them laughing (and engaged).

Parents are involved and get their own series of emails on adolescent development and communication skills. Teens will be asked three times to schedule a time to talk with their parents. Topics and guidelines will be included to make the conversation as successful as possible, and parents will also receive program support.

Teens Using Gobi Report:[18] 

  • Improved relationship with their parents
  • A decrease in their use of drugs and alcohol
  • Better ability to manage stress
  • Increased awareness of their choices
  • Signing up for Gobi is free to use by both parents and youth.
  • More information on adopting the Gobi program

Parent Partner Programs
Parent partners, known by a number of different titles (e.g., parent mentors, parents for parents, veteran parents, parent allies), are parents with previous direct
xperience in the child welfare system who assist parents currently involved or at risk of becoming involved with the child welfare system. These programs can be court-based, within child welfare agencies, part of law offices, or independent. [19]

Strengthening Families Program
The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is a seven-session, evidence-based program for families with adolescent children. This program is designed to provide at-risk parents with necessary parenting skills that may lead to a reduction in substance use later in life. The results of the program have been evaluated in multiple different studies that took place in 17 different countries. The program has proven to be effective at reducing risk factors for adolescent substance use, mental health problems, and delinquency. The program also showed a positive influence on parental stress and parenting skills that helped to reduce child maltreatment by educating parents on stress and anger management techniques [20].

Incredible Years
The Incredible Years Program is offered to parents whose children have been screened for disruptive behaviors during toddler well visits. The program offered group parenting classes that reduced negative parenting styles and parent-child interactions. Prevention of negative parenting styles may have a direct impact on social, emotional, and physiological functioning in children that can later lead to adolescent and adult substance use [21].