Teens abuse drugs and alcohol for many reasons. They want to feel good; they want to stop feeling bad. They want to do well in school or at work. They want to fit in.

Research shows teens are less likely to abuse drugs when their parents tell them to stay away from drugs. It may not be an easy conversation, but it may be one of the most important ones you’ll ever have with your child.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are many things parents can do to keep their child away from drugs and alcohol:

  • Explain how drugs and alcohol hurt their health and their relationships. Specifically tell them to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
  • Spend time together so they know you care.
  • Keep track of your teen. Know where they are and whom they are with.
  • Set clear rules kids can count on.
  • Be a good example. They will learn how to deal with stress and problems from you.
  • Practice saying no to drugs and alcohol.
  • Keep track of your medicine and cleaning products to make sure your child is not abusing them.
  • Help keep your home safe by not having people in your home who abuse drugs and alcohol.