teenage drug use

Parenting Problems: How to Curb Teenage Drug Use

Do you find yourself wondering what the best methods of preventing drug use are in your teenagers?

In today’s day and age, it’s safe to say that teenage drug abuse is a significant problem in America. While drug use in teenagers is on the decline, there are still a remarkable number of teenagers experimenting with drugs today.

While many teenagers look to experimenting with drugs as a ritual in growing older, the consequences of teenage drug use can be devastating. In fact, teenagers are more likely to develop an addiction to drugs if they begin experimenting with drugs at a young age.

Fortunately, there are steps that any parent can take to help curb drug use in their teenagers. The majority of these steps are based upon providing the right education and support to teenagers during their teenage years.

If you’re looking for the best ways to curb teenage drug use for your family, you’re going to want to read this. We’re documenting useful tips and techniques for how to prevent drug abuse from becoming a reality in your teenager’s life.

1. Educating Teenagers on Drug Use

First and foremost, one of the most significant methods of curbing teenage drug use is to discuss with your teenager the downsides of drug use.

While many schools implement anti-drug programs, many of these programs focus on the educational aspects of drugs. For example, a common lecture may cite the difference between depressants and stimulants. However, these lessons fail to provide a personal and realistic portrayal of drug use.

That being said, it’s essential to have a more personal conversation with your teenager about how drug use may affect their life personally.

Throughout this discussion, be sure to avoid using scare tactics. Instead, have an open and realistic conversation with your teenager about how drug use will affect things they care about in their life. This may be sports, the ability to operate a car, their appearance, or even their sexual health.

Be honest with your teenagers and give them a realistic understanding of what drug use may lead to. This is both in terms of how drug use will affect their current lifestyle as well as how it may affect the near future.

For a sports lover, explain how drug use may significantly impact their athletic performance. Not only will a teenager abusing drugs suffer short-term in their athletic ability, it may also have long-term consequences. For example, their recent decline in performance may result in not qualifying for the sporting scholarship they have been longing for.

2. Establishing a Healthy Home Environment

The correlation between an unhealthy home environment and teenage drug abuse is incredibly strong.

Teenagers who lack a healthy home life are often more unaware of the negative consequences of drug use. In many of these households, the teenagers may have a more open “in and out” policy than typical households. Such an open schedule often allows teenagers to stay out late and do as they please.

Without family involvement, a teenager may feel that they have no reason to avoid experimenting with drugs.

3. Setting a Healthy Example

As a parent, it’s important to remind yourself that your children look to you as an example. That being said, it’s important to establish healthy routines that your children can strive toward.

Remember, your children are observing you even when you’re not looking. Actions or routines that are mainstream in adulthood will be noticed by children and teenagers.

For example, if a child sees a parent come home from work each day and immediately pour a glass of wine, they may begin to emulate you. While to you it may be a simple way to unwind, a child may view this as an alcohol dependence.

For your children to avoid the excessive use of drugs or substances, it’s essential for you to display this same pattern. Otherwise, teenagers may be confused when you penalize them down the line for doing the same.

If they witness or hear of you partaking in drugs, this will give them the impression that drug use is normal and acceptable. Once a child witnesses a parent using drugs, they are likely to use the “If you can do it, I can do it” argument. So be very aware of the example you are setting for your children.

4. Encouraging Open Communication

At the end of the day, parents want their children to feel comfortable talking openly with them. Without this comfort, children are left to interpret situations on their own and are more inclined to make irrational decisions.

Instead, be sure to encourage your children to speak to you. This may come in the form of asking questions, seeking advice or opening up about a past situation. Remind them that you were once young and facing the same issues that they are now.

Remember, a child is more likely to open up with their parent when that parent takes the first step to open up themselves. As a parent, make a habit of “checking in” with your children and asking if they have any questions.

Parents can even be straightforward and ask their children about whether drugs have presented themselves in their peer group. Simply letting your children know that you are open to discussing the matter when it does present itself is an effective means of starting the conversation.

5. Keeping Inventory of Prescription Medication

While overall teenage drug use has seen a decrease in recent years, the use of prescription medication to get high is still common amongst teenagers. In fact, prescription medication is the second-most abused drug for teenagers after cannabis.

Many teenagers turn to prescription medication as a means of getting high simply because it is so widely available. After all, many households today have a well-known common spot for medication. While this medication may be effective in pain management, it can have serious consequences when misused.

That being said, it’s important to make certain that this medication is not readily available to your children. This can be accomplished through discarding unnecessary or expired medication and keeping an inventory of current medication.

6. Debunking Media That Romanticizes Drug Use

In today’s day and age, it’s not uncommon for the media to portray drug use in a positive light.

Be it in movies, music, or television, drugs are often painted as fun, harmless substances. It’s important to make sure that your teenagers are aware that these fictional stories do not illustrate the harsh realities of drug use.

It may be helpful to discuss with your teenagers the significant number of celebrities that find themselves with serious drug addictions. As a result, many of these coveted celebrities have no choice but to enter drug rehabilitation centers.

It’s also important to discuss with your teenagers the presence of drug abuse and steroids in professional sports.

The truth is, 1 in 20 teenagers report using steroids to increase their muscle mass. Much of the motivation behind such a choice is witnessing strong and capable athletes on television who are using that same strategy.

If you feel that this could be an issue with your teenager, be sure to discuss the long-term effects that steroids have on users as well as the current effects.

7. Discussing Ways to Resist Peer Pressure

The truth is, drugs are going to present themselves to most teenagers at one point or another.

When discussing drug use with your teenagers, it’s important to remind yourself to be realistic. That being said, preaching absolute abstinence isn’t always the best method.

Instead, be open and honest with your teenagers about the fact that they are likely going to be offered drugs in their adolescence. From here, try brainstorming together the best methods for them to resist this pressure.

In some circumstances, young adolescents may feel they have no choice but to accept the pressure from their peers. It’s helpful to remind teenagers that they have the power to make their own decisions and to leave any situations that make them feel uncomfortable.

For young teenagers, having their answers pre-determined is the best possible way to avoid accepting peer pressure.

8. Be Honest About Your Own Experiences

At one point in time or another, your teenager is likely to ask you about your own history with drug use.

For those that choose to voice their past drug use, be ready to discuss what you learned from that experience. For example, in experimenting with cannabis in college, a parent can be honest about why they made that decision.

However, it’s also important to discuss the consequences that you may have faced as a result. Perhaps you may have noticed that your grades were suffering and that you didn’t enjoy feeling out of control.

It may also be beneficial to be open with your child about others in your life that used drugs and faced harsh consequences. This paints a very realistic picture to your child as to how drug use can have long-term, devastating effects.

For parents that have struggled with addiction themselves, it’s important to make your teenager aware of the concept of genetic addiction. After all, ten percent of adults report having suffered from a drug addiction in their lifetime.

If addiction runs in your family, make it known to your teenagers that they may be more likely to face addiction than others.

9. Familiarize Yourself with Your Child’s Peer Groups

Part of the responsibility in being a parent is to familiarize yourself with your teenager’s peer group.

When a parent is familiar with their teenager’s peer group, that parent is more likely to be connected to the group overall. With that comes a level of trust that the teenager themselves, as well as their peers, feel toward that parent.

Likewise, when a parent is unfamiliar with the peer group, they are naturally more disconnected. With this comes an unawareness of what is happening in their teenager’s life and lack of engagement.

While a parent may only have limited influence on their teenager’s peers, it’s still essential to direct your teenagers towards those that provide a positive influence.

For some parents, this can also be established in keeping an open relationship with the peer’s parents. In doing so, the teenagers are aware that their parents are in communication and that news has the ability to travel fast.

10. Establishing Consequences

Of course, establishing consequences might be one of the best methods of prevention that a parent can employ.

Carefully explain that each and every family has a set of rules in which the children must abide by. In saying this, clearly explain to your teenager what the consequences of using drugs will be. This may be anything from revoking certain privileges such as a car or technology to disallowing social plans.

In knowing the consequences, teenagers will be forced to re-evaluate whether or not their drug use is worth the potential consequences.

It’s also important to always follow through with enforcing these consequences. In failing to do so, teenagers will no longer take the threat of consequences seriously.

While these consequences may seem unfair to your teenager at first, remind them that you are doing this because it’s what’s best for them at this time. If they have objections to the potential consequences, be open to discussing these objections with them.

Remember, the more willing you are to have open discussions with your teenagers, the more likely they are to feel that same way.

The Battle Against Teenage Drug Abuse

The teenage drug abuse epidemic has been a harsh reality facing America for many years. Although teenagers are reporting to use drugs less, drug abuse is still a widespread issue facing many teenagers today.

In today’s school environment, the majority of teenagers are going to face peer pressure to use drugs. While parents are unable to control what happens in the hallways, parents today still play a vital role in combatting drug use in their teenagers. It’s the parent’s responsibility to provide their teenagers with the guidance and support necessary to make informed decisions.

Without this parental support, teenagers are more likely to act irrationality and make irresponsible decisions.

If you’re looking to learn more about addiction, be sure to visit our addiction information page.

College Students Addiction

Concerned Your College Student Might Have A Problem With Addiction?

College Students AddictionThe college years are a time when teens develop greater independence and begin exploring the paths that they will take through adulthood. With greater freedom and less parental supervision, it’s also the time for parties, experimentation with drugs and exposure to friends’ risky behaviors. It’s simply a fact that alcohol is widely available on the vast majority of college campuses. The combination of availability of alcohol (and drugs) and the realities of campus life is enough for some teens to cycle into addiction.

Could College Life Increase The Chances Of Addiction?

Sending a teen off to college is both a moment of pride for parents and filled with worry. It’s certainly not uncommon for parents to be concerned with their child’s new found freedom. There is ample reason to be concerned about alcohol abuse. In fact, current statistics clearly show that the college years can be especially risky – especially for those who have a family history of addiction.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, four out of five college students drink alcohol, and half also consume alcohol through binge drinking. While these two statistics are alarming enough, there is even more reason to be concerned. About 25 percent of college students report an impact on their academics caused by drinking, including missing classes, falling behind and doing poorly on exams. There are also higher rates of assault, sexual abuse, injury and suicide attempts as consequences of drinking.

Taking A Proactive Approach To Alcohol During The College Years

As a concerned parent, there are some strategies that can go a long way toward preventing many of the risks associated with college drinking. First, it’s important to have an ongoing dialog with your child about the dangers of alcohol abuse and addiction. Talking to kids openly about how alcohol can affect physical and mental health can plant a seed that the risks are far greater than the rewards of getting drunk at a frat party. It may even be worthwhile sharing stories from your college years so that they understand that you’re not perfect and that you may even have regrets over actions that resulted in negative consequences.

Another strategy that can help is to meet your child’s college friends. Visiting campus, you can quickly determine if your child is making friends with students who are focused on studies or on partying. Also encourage your child to get involved in campus activities and new hobbies and interests. With a busy schedule, there will be less time for hanging out at the campus watering hole or partaking in parties with large volumes of alcohol.

Is Your Child Showing Signs Of Addiction?

Even the most studious teen is at risk of alcohol abuse on a college campus. If you suspect that alcohol could be playing too important of a role in your child’s life, the first step is looking for signs of possible abuse. There are a number of telltale signs that an alcohol (or drug) problem may be developing:

An Unexpected Drop in Grades – Even students who historically have straight “A”s can fall into alcohol abuse. While some students continue to get good grades despite abusing substances, most will find that their grades suffer.

Moodiness – Depression and irritability often go hand-in-hand with alcohol abuse. If a child seems unusually moody, it may be time to ask about drug or alcohol use.

Increase in Spending – If you’re footing the bill for college, it is wise to provide your child with a joint bank account so that you can see transactions. One of the key indicators of an increase in substance abuse is greater spending.

School Disciplinary Actions – If there are warnings or disciplinary measures, this is a big red flag that your child may be heading down the path to addiction. If there are warnings or disciplinary measures, this is a big red flag that your child may be heading down the path to addiction.

What Should You Do?

If you’ve discovered that your college student is abusing alcohol or drugs, it’s wise to speak with their college counseling office to determine available resources. On some campuses, there are sober dorms, 12-step meetings and even alcohol-free social events that can help keep your child away from alcohol. Of course, the problem may warrant professional treatment.

Alcoholism and drug abuse are not conditions to take a “wait and see” approach with. It’s wise to work with a professional to find the best option for treatment. At Addiction Treatment Services, we are focused on finding the right treatment center for individuals suffering from addiction and their families. Call us now to learn more.

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Young People Who Witness Substance Abuse More Likely to Engage in Antisocial Behavior

devpsychpathA new study of a group of teenagers found that they were much more likely to participate in destructive actions on the days when they witness substance abuse. While it has been known that active substance abuse occurring in the environment of young people can have a negative impact on their lives, this is perhaps the first set of data that was able to look at specific actions and record the evidence more precisely and efficiently.

“Past research has shown that children who grow up in families, schools and neighborhoods where alcohol and drugs are frequently used are at risk for behavioral problems later in life, but our findings demonstrate that these effects are immediate,” said Candice Odgers, associate professor in Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and associate director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.

The full results of the study appear in the journal Development and Psychopathology. One of the interesting things about this particular study is how they collected the data – via mobile devices. Rather than doing and end-of-the-day recap like other similar research, they were able to have the adolescents record their thoughts, actions and events real time via their cell phones.

It was also noted that teens with the genotype most common for ADHD diagnosis were more susceptible to acting out following the influence. Impulsivity combined with the exposure made for a difficult situation for these kids to deal with, resulting in the antisocial behavior.

“A series of studies has shown that consuming alcohol before age 15 predicts a wide range of later problems including substance dependency, involvement in criminal behavior and health problems. Our findings suggest that we may also need to prevent exposure to others using substances during this period,” Odgers said.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol abuse or alcoholism, Addiction Treatment Services can help you find the best possible treatment. For more information, contact us.

Continued Education for Parents Helps Fight Drug Abuse

save teens from drug abusePrograms all over the United States are beginning to focus on parents when it comes to preventing teen drug use. Oftentimes the families are so blindsided by their loved one’s drug addiction that it can be difficult to figure out the right steps to take when addressing the problem. As people become more educated on drugs and addiction, it is also clear that parents and family members play a major role in preventing drug abuse and getting addicts the help they need.

Operation Save Teens is a group that was started in Alabama to educate people on the dangers of drug abuse and what to do if a family member begins abusing drugs. There are several of these types of groups throughout the country. Grassroots movements that were born out of the tragedy of losing a loved one to drugs, oftentimes these loved ones were teenagers.

“We do these programs to enlighten the parents and to give them the signs to look for, but also to show the kids, too. We have to get to the kids before they get addicted to something. It’s very hard to get people unaddicted. These treatment centers are very expensive, and most of the time, it takes long-term care and commitment,” explained Lt. Mike Reese of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Teenagers have been targeted as more susceptible for drug use and abuse because of the many different pressures they are under. Insecurities surrounding looks, education and their future can combine to make them reach for the numbing effects of drugs. Synthetic drugs can also be more appealing to teenagers because they are often easier to obtain and newer to the market. Because of their newness, many teenagers are not aware of the extreme dangers synthetic drugs pose to users, such as hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and paranoid behavior.

There are hundreds of different educational groups around the country working hard to educate families and children on the dangers and signs of drug abuse. For people who do become addicted and need treatment, we’re here to help.

Teenagers with Sleep Problems at Greater for Risk for Alcohol Abuse

alcclinresResearchers have identified yet another reason why children need to get adequate sleep, and learn good, healthy sleep habits from an early age. A recent study showed that children who did not get sufficient sleep, could not stay asleep, or stayed up too long before going to bed, were at a greater risk to develop an alcohol problem and/or engage in risky sexual behavior. While most parents understand that their child needs enough rest, this study shows just how vital it is to have a good bedtime routine and solve any sleep problems early on in a child’s life.

Researchers believe that the main reason why a child is at greater risk for poor alcohol and sexual behavior when they do not get sufficient sleep is because the brain has had less time to develop. The brain does most of its growing during sleep. This means that the areas of the brain that are responsible for self-control and behavior can become underdeveloped when a child is not getting enough sleep, or does not display healthy sleeping habits.

“Overtiredness in childhood has also directly predicted the presence of binge drinking, blackouts, driving after drinking alcohol, and a number of lifetime alcohol problems in young adulthood. The purpose of this study was to examine whether sleep difficulties and hours of sleep prospectively predicted several serious substance-related problems that included binge drinking, driving under the influence of alcohol, and risky sexual behavior,” explained Maria M. Wong, a professor and director of experimental training in the department of psychology at Idaho State University.

This is not the first study to indicate that sleep and the potential for addiction may be connected, however in the past the studies were conducted on children that were considered high-risk and only focused on hours slept. This new research, which appeared in Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research included more variables like; difficulty of falling asleep and staying up too long before falling asleep.

Researchers point out that it is important to establish a healthy bedtime routine in order to minimize the potential for alcohol and sexual deviance. Examples of a healthy bedtime routine may include doing away with electronics before bedtime and substituting them with a book.

Colorado Ad Campaign Aims to Deter Teen Marijuana Use

dontbealabratssColorado is conducting a powerful campaign aiming to prevent teen marijuana abuse. The state has garnered a lot of recent press due to the fact that they have allowed recreational marijuana use and some people are concerned the new amendment would lead to an acceptance of drug use among teens. To help prevent this from happening, the state of Colorado hired Mike Sukle of Sukle Advertising & Design to put together a campaign that would speak to teenagers about the dangers of marijuana abuse.

Sukle explains that the campaign was tricky because of the widespread acceptance of marijuana in the state. He points out that you have to be careful about how you warn children against using marijuana. Oftentimes children are told things about drugs that are heavily exaggerated or simply aren’t true. When children see that they have been lied to, it is even harder to dissuade them from abusing the drug themselves.

Studies are showing that using marijuana at a young age can lead to schizophrenia, stunted brain growth and a lowered IQ. Armed with this information Sukle created a campaign that would reach out to teens and point out the inevitable. In a few years scientists would be studying their generation to determine the effects of early marijuana use. The campaign is called Don’t Be A Lab Rat and it shows giant rat cages with signs explaining the potential fallout from early marijuana use.

The signs say things such as: “What do the effects of lead paint, mercury, and weed on teenagers’ brains all have in common? We’re about to find out.” or “Congratulations. You’re the first teenage generation living in a state with legalized marijuana. Scientists can’t wait to see the negative effects it will have on your brain.”

The intention is not to scare or lie to teenagers, but to engage their curiosity and get them to realize that they are still developing. Ingesting drugs during such a crucial time in a person’s development can have long-lasting negative effects.

Talking To Your Teen About Substance Abuse - Addiction Treatment Services

Addressing Teen Substance Abuse

Addressing Teen Substance Abuse - Addiction Treatment ServicesMost parents don’t want to face the possibility that their son or daughter might be abusing drugs or alcohol. And so they don’t face it…until things get so bad that they can no longer ignore the facts.

This is tragic, because early detection is key to preventing teen substance use from blossoming into full-blown addiction and leading to life-altering health and legal consequences.

Here’s what to watch out for to catch teen drug or alcohol abuse early, and what to do if you discover that your child is affected.

Early Warning Signs of Teen Substance Abuse

Teens are known for being moody, emotional and secretive – all of which can be, but aren’t necessarily, warning signs of substance abuse. Your years of raising your child has given you a sense of what is normal for your son or daughter. Listen to your instincts if they’re telling you that something is out of the ordinary.

Here are some warning signs to look out for that can tip you off to a potential substance abuse problem:

  • Unusual changes in attitude
  • Increased secrecy
  • Deception, suspicious excuses or outright lying
  • Unexplained tardiness and/or absences from school
  • Withdrawing from participation at school and/or at home
  • Declining performance at school and in extracurricular activities
  • Losing interest in hobbies
  • Changes in peer groups and abandoning long-time friendships
  • Difficulty staying focused
  • Anxiety, paranoia, irritability
  • Fidgeting, hyperactivity
  • Lethargy and abnormal sleepiness
  • Unexplained changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • An increased need for money
  • Getting into fights and relationship conflicts
  • Unexplained (or poorly explained) injuries

The challenging aspect of looking for the warning signs of addiction is that they may manifest as very small incidents that are easy to pass off as normal teenage behavior. They may escalate gradually, and not be apparent all at once.

This is why paying attention to your gut feelings as a parent is so important, as well as seeking help even if you’re not 100 percent certain your child is involved in substance abuse.

If You Worry Your Teen May Be at Risk

If you don’t think your teen is abusing substances yet, but worry that he or she is at risk for doing so in the future, you can refer your teen to the Half of Us website. Half of Us is an awareness campaign that speaks to teens using messaging that ties directly to their specific feelings and experiences.

Sponsored by mtvU and the Jed Foundation, Half of Us spreads awareness about issues that can lead to substance use and addiction, including:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Suicide
  • Body image issues
  • LGBTQ issues
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Stress
  • Money problems
  • Digital drama
  • Break-ups
  • Abuse – physical or verbal

Other risk factors that may make a teen more susceptible to addiction can include:

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Past or ongoing abuse or bullying
  • Seeing family members consume drugs or alcohol (as normal behavior)

What Parents Can Do Now to Prevent Substance Abuse in Teens

Additionally, here are some measures you can take now to create an environment where substance use is less likely to occur:

  • Talk to your kids about the risk of substance abuse.
  • Cultivate a mutually respectful relationship with your teen.
  • Be aware of and genuinely interested in your teen’s life, activities and relationships.
  • Limit exposure to media that portrays substance use in a way that looks cool or normal, and talk to your kids about what they see in movies, TV and online.
  • Model healthy behavior with the choice you make in your own life.

What to Do Next if Your Teen Is Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

If your child is abusing drugs or alcohol, early intervention is key to helping them get their life back on track. Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone: You can get help from a professional interventionist. In fact, your chances of success are much, much higher with the help of a professional.

To begin with, a professional interventionist can help answer questions the family has, such as:

  • How severe is the substance abuse? Has it become an addiction?
  • Will my teen need to go to rehab?
  • If so, what type of drug or alcohol treatment program would be best for my teen in particular?
  • What will intervention and treatment cost?
  • Will our insurance cover rehab expenses? How much?

How to Stage an Intervention for Teen Drug Addiction or Alcoholism

Teens are notorious for keeping their problems to themselves and discounting the advice of authority figures. Teens want help, but at the same time are reluctant to admit that they need it. This is why it’s so helpful to have the help of a trained professional who understands adolescent psychology, and who is an expert in addiction intervention specifically.

As part of the intervention process, a professional interventionist will:

  • Talk to the family ahead of time – without the teen present – to agree on a plan and make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Train the family on what they can do to help increase the chances that the intervention will be successful.
  • Educate everyone on what to say during the intervention – and just as importantly, what NOT to say.
  • Lead the intervention, keeping everyone focused on topics that are most likely to help the teen agree to change his or her behavior.
  • Help family members find the best way to get ongoing support for themselves as they deal with the challenges of addiction in the family.

Intervention Help for Families

Substance abuse and addiction can lead to devastating consequences in the lives of addicts. Families can’t help but be hurt as well, and it’s especially tragic when addiction affects the lives of people who are essentially still just getting started in life.

Statistics have shown that most addicts begin abusing substances in their adolescent years. For this reason, the teenage years are the most important time to intervene and address issues of mental health, behavior problems and other emotional and psychological challenges that often lead to substance abuse. Ensuring that these problems are addressed at this point will save them – and you – from additional suffering in the future.

If you suspect that your child might be using drugs or alcohol, contact us right away. We can refer you to highly qualified professional interventionists in your area who can provide the support you need to prevent your teen’s life from being pulled off course by addiction.

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Above The Influence Campaign Goes Social

abovetheinfluenceThe Partnership at DrugFree.org has recently announced its plans to revive the anti-drug campaign called “Above The Influence,” which was award-wining and deemed successful.

As mentioned in the New York Times, the campaign used to receive funding from Congress, but the budget cuts continued to reduce the amount over the years to finally being deleted last year. Now The Partnership is seeking corporate sponsors to run a more cost-effective campaign through digital outlets and social media.

The project was previously run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Director Gil Kerlikowske was quoted in a release as saying, “No one is better suited than The Partnership at Drugfree.org to ensure the continued success of Above the Influence. The Partnership has been there since the beginning of Above the Influence, and together, we have made a difference in the lives of teens.”

Above The Influence seeks to help put anti-drug messages into contexts that speak more to teenagers, noting that simply stating “Don’t Do Drugs” isn’t effective and “Drugs Will Kill You” isn’t an immediately real concept to them. Instead the messages usually show how substance abuse can pull someone off track in life and make them lose interest in activities that would otherwise be positive influences. It bridges the gap of what happens when someone first starts taking drugs and then what happens once they become addicted.

The campaign currently has a promotion going called “Made by Me,” which is an online advertising campaign created for free by New York agency Atmosphere Proximity. This new project encourages teens to submit their ideas for the next great Above the Influence public service announcement. Teens will vote on a winning concept which will be filmed by a renowned director and premiered in October 2013 to coincide with Above the Influence Day.