Making positive choices is easier than you think.
Be proud of yourself when you’ve stayed clear of the temptations to experiment with dangerous substances.
And you’re not alone. More than seven in 10 teens in Palm Beach County are alcohol-free.
Bet you didn’t know that, right?
Truth is, most youth don’t take drugs or drink alcohol.
According to a recent government survey, drug use rates have decreased since 2001. Despite what you may hear, kids are rejecting drugs like marijuana, meth, inhalants, and tobacco. In fact, many teens are telling researchers that they know a lot about the dangers of drugs – and that helps them say “no” to drugs.
More teens understand that experimenting with drugs and alcohol puts their long-term health and safety on the line.
Why? Because the teen brain is a brain that’s still developing. That means: taking drugs and alcohol can cause permanent intellectual, emotional, and physical damage.
Take alcohol, for instance.
The more you drink, the higher the chances of you getting into serious trouble like being in a car crash or being involved in a homicide, suicide, and drowning. Alcohol is also linked to early sexual intercourse, date and acquaintance rapes, unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, as well as fighting in school, vandalism and theft. In addition, many young people die from alcohol poisoning associated with binge drinking.
And that’s just alcohol.
Find out what else can happen to you when you use prescription pills, bath salt, heroin, cocaine, and other drugs.
Here’s even more real truth about drugs: if you use them, your chances of finishing high school, going to college, getting a good job, and starting a family will diminish.
Getting hooked on drugs can ruin your life. It’s hard to quit drugs once you start abusing them. There could be physical feelings of withdrawal, like bad headaches. Remember, addiction is a brain disease that can easily take over your life. Learn more about addiction here.
We all choose our paths in life. Pick the one that doesn’t involve using drugs and alcohol. Your health, safety, and future will be brighter.
Getting Help. What To Do to Get A Teen Off Drugs
You probably know of a teen who is abusing drugs or alcohol. Statistically, about 15 percent of high school seniors have abused prescription drugs and about 32 percent have used marijuana in the past year.
The Mayo Clinic offers a great approach on how you can help a teen struggling with drugs:
If you suspect that a teen you know is abusing drugs, talk to him or her. Avoid accusations. Instead, ask the teen what's going on in his or her life and encourage him or her to be honest.
If the teen admits to abusing drugs, let him or her know that you're disappointed. Explain to this person that he or she can help regain your lost trust, if the drug use stops right away.
If you think the teen is involved in significant drug use, contact a doctor, counselor or another health care provider who specializes in drug problems.
Again, if you suspect someone you know is using drugs, start that conversation right away.
What Teens Can Do to Stay Drug-Free
Good news teens – there’s tons of fun things to do in Palm Beach County that don’t involve alcohol or drugs.
They’re all around you!
Here’s a few:
Go bowling. Everyone loves bowling and pizza, right? And what better way to show off your individual bowling style then visit a bowling alley nearest your home.
Check out the latest movies. Our community has no shortage of movie theaters. So get your friends, buy some popcorn, and enjoy the hottest flicks on the big screen.
Do volunteer work. Our county has hundreds of nonprofits looking for volunteers to do service projects, from helping the elderly to planting trees at schools to cleaning the beaches. You’ll learn a lot, feel good about giving back and have plenty to do. PBCBHC could use your help, too! Learn more here >
Get involved in sports or exercise. Your schools and neighborhood centers have plenty of after-school and weekend sports leagues and activities. You don’t have to be a star athlete to join a team. If sports leagues aren’t your thing, join a gym near your home where you can work out at your own schedule and pace.
Find a hobby. Do you like taking photos? How about drawing? Are you a chess player? These are all fun hobbies you can take up any time to keep yourself busy and engaged in the things you love to do.
See, there’s a lot to do in Palm Beach County!