NIH launches new tool for parents to help keep kids drug-free
Parents have a new online resource to help keep their children drug-free.
Balintfy: Researchers know that while the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, drug addiction is a disease of the brain that compels a person to become obsessed with obtaining and abusing drugs despite their many adverse health and life consequences. Research has also shown that addiction usually begins in adolescence.
Dowling: One reason for this is that the brain continues to develop until people are in their mid-20s and so the effects of drugs of abuse in the brain can be more severe.
Balintfy: Dr. Gaya Dowling is with the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Dowling: So we really want to encourage parents in particular to pay attention to this issue and help their kids understand the dangers so that they can make healthy decisions.
Balintfy: NIH-funded research has shown that parents play a critical role in preventing their children from using drugs. Dr. Dowling says now parents have a new resource.
Dowling: It's a tool for parents that provides them with some questions that they can think about how they interact with their children to prevent substance abuse among their kids.
Balintfy: Dr. Dowling explains that this tool, called Family Checkup, is available online.
Dowling: The family checkup that we have on the drugabuse.gov website focuses on five primary skills, communication, encouragement, negotiation, setting limits, and supervision. So on the family checkup website, we have information about these skills, questions that parents can ask themselves and answer for themselves as well as information on how they can improve how they handle certain situations with their teens by using these skills.
Balintfy: She add that there are also video examples that show parents how-to and how-not-to emulate each skill with their own children.
Dowling: The videos are designed to really provide examples of how to interact with your teens. So it's one thing to read information about what are the best ways, what are the best strategies to interact with your teens, it's a lot harder to implement them. So the videos are designed to give parents examples of how to really use the strategies that are outlined on the website.
Balintfy: Dr. Dowling emphasizes that parents who are concerned about drug abuse may also turn to the family physician as a resource.
Dowling: Physicians are in a unique position to identify substance abuse and we actually have resources for physicians on our website as well. But physicians are somebody that parents and teens themselves can talk to if they're not sure how to handle a situation and they can really help.
Balintfy: The Family Checkup online resource for parents can be found at www.drugabuse.gov. Teens can get information about drug abuse at the website: teens.drugabuse.gov. For NIH Radio, this is Joe Balintfy – NIH Turning Discovery Into Health®.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Gaya Dowling
Topic: drug, drug abuse, drugs, family, family checkup, parent, parents, child, children, teen, teens, brain, addiction
Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse