Teaching preventative measures to help safeguard against youth addiction isn’t as easy as it might seem. Your first response might be that once the obvious step of removing someone from potential contact with any suppliers of drugs or alcohol has taken place, nipping problems in the bud before they may start will be easier.
Additionally, you may also have managed to extricate the teenager from contact with a toxic and overly-influencing peer group who are known for misusing drugs and alcohol. Your third step is, no doubt, to have made sure that their lives are too full and busy to dwell on all the “fun” they may be missing out on.
However, if you’re in a position where you have a young person with a notably addictive personality, these steps may not be enough. The element of rebellion is intoxicatingly attractive when trying to establish an identity, and unless measures are put in place to help them learn to be content with who they are, youth addiction issues may still arise.
Although low self-esteem may already be a danger factor by the teenage years, it’s worth doing all you can to reinforce positive achievements. It won’t necessarily be easy to convince a teenager that they’re worth something without turning to drugs and alcohol to “fit in”, but persuasive bargaining within their areas of interest, alongside encouragement to pursue these activities with likeminded peers will make sure they’re the right kind of busy.
Moving away from a potentially dangerous peer group may be less easy, as there’s a fair chance the young person will view them as the “in” crowd. Examining what happens in later life to the former “cool kids” can be revelatory; seeing a life that hasn’t gone to plan can be the most persuasive deterrent of all.