Combatting Teenage Drug Abuse

On January 24, 2018 I had the opportunity to be part of a seminar on Substance Abuse Awareness in Union City High School.

I am Liliana Villanueva, director of Social Service Department of CareFinders Total Care, with more than 20 years of experience as a Social Worker, 13 of them as part of the school system. Back home in Colombia, I was part of substance abuse research, helping to develop programs to support teachers, and parents. We created strategies to build protective factors against drugs, as well as activities to teach our children how to be strong enough to say NO when they face negative events, in this case substance abuse.

As a parents, caregivers, and teachers, we have the responsibility to support our teenagers by teaching them effective communication and leadership skills, and providing environments where they can learn:

– How to have high self-esteem.

– How to build positive interpersonal relationships.

– How make decisions and solve problems.

Here are some tips to help you develop protective factors at home:

  • Build rules: If you have no rules, it’s time to start. If you do have rules, please try not to break them; apply them consistently and stick to them. This is a good way to teach discipline.
  • Keep balance between love and discipline: Love your children but be in control of the situations.
  • Share time with your children: Talk to them, listen to them. If you know your children well, you will recognize if and when something happens.
  • Meet their friends: Invite your kids’ friends to share pizza at home. This will help you discover what kind of friends they really are.
  • Offer supervised activities after school. Keep your kids occupied with more beneficial activities, such us sports, arts, science club, etc.
  • Be aware of their emotional changes: Do not ignore it changes in behavior. If you notice something, talk to your kid. If you still have concerns, ask a teacher or Social Worker at school. They can also refer you to a free program.

You are not alone.  Just ask for help! Each town has different agencies with free programs to support children and families.

At CareFinders Total Care, we believe caregiving is more than just assistance for the elderly. “Total Care” is a holistic approach to the overall health of our families and communities.