Do Scare Tactics Really Keep Teens Off Drugs?

Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Columbus OHDuring the 1980s a popular public service announcement depicted a skillet with an egg being fried in it. The message was plain and simple, "This is your brain on drugs." This was a substance abuse warning that got many kinds of reactions from the public. Some were shocked, many thought it was not really cool. Some thought it was ineffective. Overall the message that was intended was not achieved. Research studies have shown that this type of media commercial aimed to help keep kids off drugs just do not make the impact hoped for. Like the campaign for not smoking that used posters of black lungs, these images do not do much to convince kids not to smoke. Teens are risk takers and these types of anti-drug tactics just do not do much to help convince them to not do drugs. If you have a teen with addiction issues, call a drug and alcohol treatment center in Columbus OH that you can trust in 2018. Call Legacy Freedom.

A recent study in the journal Psychological Science tried to measure how risk warnings affect purchases made by young people. Researchers from Singapore’s INSEAD Business School, Israel’s Tel Aviv University, and New York University found that young people discount the risks of experiencing negative life events. When the teens were presented with risk statistics, such as being involved in a motor vehicle crash, their beliefs about the likelihood that such an event could happen to them did not change. The teens involved in the study seemed to believe that they were not vulnerable to the consequences associated with risky decisions, even when presented with information that clearly illustrates the opposite.

What makes it so hard to create successful campaigns is that teenagers tend to feel invincible, with this feeling being stronger among younger people. Meanwhile, the belief that a positive event could happen to an individual remains stable across the ages of the participants. Teens are also aware when they feel someone is trying to manipulate them. They do not like that treatment and will not respond well to it at all. Like most of us, teens also want to be treated more as an adult, not as a kid. To do this and reach them be factual with them. Share with them factual information that is relevant and up to date. Legacy Freedom is the best drug and alcohol treatment center in Columbus OH for teens. Call us today to learn more.

You can also use the following great tips for helping your teen stay off drugs:

  • Besides the need for factual and science-based information, teens also need help building life skills. The old message of “Just say no” is not helpful without teaching teens how to say no. By learning how to deal with peer pressure and building a toolbox full of coping mechanisms, they will be better able to say no. Many kids have very likely ended up in teen drug rehabilitation that might not have otherwise if they had had the help they needed.
  • Instead of scare tactics, start the conversation by asking your teen their views on drug use. This will let them know that you value what they have to say. You can then have a frank discussion about the reasons not to use drugs. Again, listen to what your teen has to say. This conversation can also include the messages we see in the media, such as movies, television shows, songs, and websites.
  • Your teen might need help deciding how to deal with peer pressure, so coming up with ways to do so and maybe doing some role play will help. You need to be prepared to answer your teen’s questions about your own drug use. If this happens, be honest. Share the reasons you chose not to use drugs, if this was the case, and if you did use drugs, then tell them what your experiences were. This will impact your teen far more than simply trying to scare them with exaggerated stories and statistics, and you will be more likely to help them choose not to use drugs and stay away from the need for teen rehabilitation.
  • Teens are smart, and they are aware, perhaps more so today than at any other time in history. For this reason, you need to approach the subject of drug use with your teen by treating them as an equal, someone capable of having an intelligent discussion about the topic. Threats and fear tactics simply are not effective. If you truly want the best possible chance to keep your child out of teen drug rehab, then you need to have a rational discussion and show them you respect their views and opinions.

Research does bear out that when teens believe that they were likely to experience a positive consequence it may be helpful. The positive experience can help to direct the teens away from substance abuse. If a teen is told that not drinking alcohol will help them stay in shape and help them get a place on the school baseball team this is a positive consequence. A teen who wants to be on the team will be more likely to make the right choices that will help them reach that goal.

All of these research findings may help explain why teens are unable to learn negative information about consequences connected with their choices and then apply that information to future choices. Parents can talk with their teens about the positive events that can occur as a result of choosing responsibly in relation to substance use. For instance, teens that are academically successful may be influenced by a statistic showing the connection between academic scholarships and abstaining from alcohol.

Research has shown that strong family cohesiveness and identity forged through family dinners, outings, conversations and traditions like game nights or holiday rituals can help kids to have a keen sense of belonging and self-esteem. These types of family investments of time can boost a teen’s sense that they have someone to talk to and curb the feelings of loneliness and other negative emotions that sometimes open the door for experimentation with alcohol or drugs.

The Best Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Columbus OH for 2018

Regardless of how bad your teen’s drug use has become, help is always available. With combined support from family and Legacy Freedom Columbus, you are not alone in this, recovery is just around the corner. Help is a phone call or visit away. Contact our drug and alcohol treatment center in Columbus OH to learn how our rehab programs are tailored to fit the needs of your teen so that they're able to learn how to rejoin life, drug-free.



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