Drug abuse especially among children and adolescents needs to be effectively checked as it has harmful health effects on their developing age. Several risk factors at individual, family, peer, and school level can make the child vulnerable to abuse. The risk factors at any developmental stage of children can be effectively changed or intervened through various preventive factors. While risk factors increases the possibility of children abusing drugs, preventive factors help reduce various risks that can lead to drug abuse.
Several risk factors that can influence the child to abuse drugs need to be checked as they can lead to more risks.
Early Aggressive Behavior
Various risk factors that affect the children at different stages of their lives can be effectively controlled using preventive factors. Early aggressive behavior during childhood is one such risk factor that can lead to drug abusing. Children showing signs of aggressive behavior during early years of their childhood are more likely to abuse drugs in later years. The aggressive behavior can be effectively tackled through family, school, or community intervention.
Lack Of Parental Supervision
Children who lack parental supervision and attachment from family members, parents, and friends can be at the risk of abusing drugs in later life. Children whose activities are not properly monitored by their parents are likely to succumb to drug abuse.
Children involved in early substance or drug abuse are likely to continue their habit in later years. Some children during their very early years start abusing substances such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, and various prescription drugs. Continued use of substance during early childhood puts the children at risk of increased drug abuse in later life. Studies have shown that drug abuse during late childhood and during early adolescence result into strong drug addiction.
Children are more vulnerable to drug abusing during the transition phase of their life. When children leave the protective circle of family and enter elementary school and then to high school, children face new peer groups, challenges, and situations where they are exposed to easy availability of drugs. These challenges coupled with easy availability of drugs increases the risk of drug abuse by children and adolescents.
Poverty is marked by illiteracy, greater high school drop out rate, unstable family, negligence, less interpersonal relationships, unhealthy environment etc. These conditions put children in more vulnerable situation to start drug abuse.
Protective factors play a crucial role to check the risk factors that can lead to drug abuse among children.
Protective factors should overweigh risk factors to protect children from drug abuse. Protective factor like self control enables children to control his/her aggressive behavior, temperament, tackle peer pressure etc. Developing self control skills in children can help them overcome desire to try drugs, smoking, and negative attitudes.
Parental monitoring ensures that the children’s activities and habits are monitored to check for any drug abuse indications. It helps to develop a strong bond between parents and children. Children with parents, who keep a watch on their activities, will remain away from abusing drugs due to fear that they might get caught or get punishment. Parental monitoring makes sure that children understand their limits and value of discipline.
Developing academic competence among children by providing academic support in reading and developing study habits will help children develop positive attributes, self-confidence etc. It will keep them away from falling into company of bad friends and develop negative traits and temperament.
Anti Drug Use Policies
Effectively implementing anti-drug policies in schools can act as a deterrent and prevent children from abusing drugs. Anti-drug use policies will help bring awareness among children from all grades about harmful effects of drug abuse.
Strong Neighborhood Attachment
Strong neighborhood attachment ensures that neighborhood controls are upheld as discipline and order is maintained by police, parents, and community leaders. It breeds a feeling among children that their parents, teachers, and police care for them. Strong neighborhood attachments strengthen the bond of children towards school, parents, and neighborhood, thus preventing them from diverting to drug abuse.
The risk factors for drug abuse pose serious challenges to children’s emotional, social, and academic development. Greater the risks the children are exposed to, the greater will be chances of drug abuse by them. Early intervention by effectively implementing various prevention programs can help reduce or reverse these risks and lead to healthy development of child.