Many celebrations provide unintentional opportunities for youth to use alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and other drugs, increasing youth substance abuse. Please monitor any alcohol, tobacco, or adult-use marijuana that may be present at your celebrations!
According to Lamoille County’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for High School Students*, 51% of students who use alcohol in our region get if from someone giving it to them or taking it from a store or family. This 51% includes scenarios where youth getting alcohol from a friend, cousin, or family member either by having it freely offered or by taking it from anywhere that alcohol is present and unmonitored.
Before attending a celebration take a few moments to talk with your children or teens about substance abuse and safety. Communicate clear expectations. Parentupvt.org is a great resource for these conversations.
Also make a plan to include your children/teens in the celebration or to subtley check in with them throughout the party. Develop a code word that they can use that will alert you that they are feeling pressure to use or are uncomfortable with something. Discuss ways to help them get out of an awkard situation – often youth intially try substances because they haven’t thought about how to get out of that tricky situation beforehand. In a loving and supportive way set the expectation that what they are doing matters and you will be monitoring their well-being. This is one way to show them that you care.
A few minutes of well-prepared conversation can prevent youth use and the risks associated with it.
We wish you a safe and happy July 4th holiday!