New Government Study Shows Most Parents Deny Teenagers' Drug Use, While Many Teens Experiment <br> Experts on Web Answer Anonymous Questions from Parents About Teenagers and Drugs
According to a recent Partnership for a Drug-Free America survey, 60% of parents wish they knew what to say to their teens about drugs. The survey also reported that although 12% of high school students have tried the popular drug, Ecstasy, only 1% of parents said they believed their teen had tried the drug, and only half could describe its effects. With over half of all high school seniors admitting they have tried an illegal drug and 80% reporting they have used alcohol, it is clear that two decades of "Just Say No" is failing.
Concerned parents are looking for new ways to talk to teens about drugs. Safety First
, a new project of the Drug Policy Alliance, provides honest, reality-based approaches to teenage drug use.
Safety First follows the lead of sexuality education, promoting abstinence while focusing on safety. The project acknowledges that despite parents' best efforts, some teens will choose to experiment with alcohol and other drugs. Safety First offers honest, science-based information meant to inform, rather than scare parents through the 17-page booklet, Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens, Drugs, and Drug Education,
and the new website.
The Safety First website provides:
Tips for parents and schools on how to more effectively talk with teens about drugs, stressing trust and open dialogue.
Fact sheets about drugs, including Ecstasy, so parents have as much information as possible before discussing drugs with their teens.
A "Let's Talk" section where parents can ask questions about drugs to experts. Questions are researched and published on the website bi-monthly.
"The Safety First project and website was created because although we, as parents, prefer abstinence for our teenagers, we need a fallback strategy for those who say "maybe" or "sometimes" or even "yes" to alcohol and other drugs. We need an approach that embraces safety as its bottom line," explains Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD and Director of Safety First.