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Poll Shows Parents In The Dark About Teen Substance Abuse

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CBS Detroit (con't)

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ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – Do you believe your teen would use alcohol or marijuana? Most parents in a poll out of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital seem to think it is only other kids who have a problem.

“In our poll, only 10 percent of parents of teenagers reported that they perceived their child had used alcohol within the past year, and that was quite surprising to me,” said Dr. Ben Biermann with the University of Michigan.

In the same poll, only 5 percent of parents said they believed their child used marijuana.

Biermann said these numbers compare to 52 percent of 10th graders who said they drank and 28 percent who said they used marijuana.

“Parents may be in some denial about it or hoping that their child isn’t the one who’s using substances,” said Biermann.

“Interestingly, those same parents that we interviewed, when asked about other children and whether other kids were using alcohol and drugs tended to overestimate,” he said.

What can parents do about teen substance use? Biermann suggests:

1. Talk to your teenager about substance use in a non-threatening way.
2. Carefully monitor teens when they come home and look for signs of substance use.
3. Try not to overreact to a single instance of substance use. Instead, use the opportunity to talk to your teen in a non-judgmental way and be available as a resource for resisting peer pressure.
4. Talk with your teen’s friends and talk with other parents. Sometimes others will share information that your own child won’t.
5. Read information from resources such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to become educated about common signs and symptoms of substance abuse.

- More about the poll at this link (.pdf format)-

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