The first and only surefire way to prevent is to never begin using drugs to start with. Anyone who begins drinking alcohol or taking prescription medications or illicit drugs has a chance of becoming addicted. The best way to prevent drug addiction is to just say “no” right from the start.
However, sometimes we have to take prescription medications for an ailment or injury. It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions and never take more than the recommended dosage. If a problem develops, consult with your doctor immediately. People who would never intentionally take drugs for recreation find themselves unintentionally addicted to prescription medications, so always stay under your doctor’s care when dealing with prescription meds.
Educating adults and youth about the reality and dangers of drug addiction can go a long way in preventing some cases of addiction. It can also help people recognize the signs and symptoms of addiction in a loved one so they can help that person get treatment.
Communication is the key to. Parents need to keep open lines of communication with their children and this is just as important when the children become teenagers. As a parent, I decided that when my children were at home I would put their safety first, and open communication made that possible. I received a call one night from my teenage son asking if I could pick him and his high school girlfriend up because they had been drinking at a party. Not cool, but they, and several of their friends made it safely home that night because I picked them up and dropped the others off to their parents who dealt with the situation in whatever ways they thought necessary. The next morning, I GENTLY chastised my son about the alcohol (that had been bought by a parent) and COMMENDED him for calling me so that he and his friends made it home safely.
Still another time, I dropped off my younger son at a junior high dance with his best friend. He was going to spend the night at his buddy’s house afterwards. The boys called me while I was in the middle of dinner with a friend. My son whispered into the phone that his friend’s dad was intoxicated and he did not feel good about getting into the vehicle. He gave the phone to his friend’s father and I quickly told him that I was on my way to pick up the boys, as there had been a “misunderstanding” and the boys had planned to stay with me. I left my dinner date to get my son and his friend.
It was twice that open communication between me and my sons limited the risks of alcohol that played a part in two separate situations involving my children. First, it was one child who participated in drinking alcohol; and in the second instance, it was my other child who could have been an innocent victim had he allowed his friend’s dad to drive them home.
There are ways to: saying “no” to begin with, open and honest communication and education are three of the best ways to successfully do so. Trust me on this. Today, both of my sons are in college and doing very well.