According to drugabuse.gov, more than 5 percent of high school seniors in the U.S. misuse prescription drugs; 1 in 5 students in Portland may currently smoke or have smoked marijuana, while 35 percent may have consumed alcohol. Yes, the majority of Portland youth stay away from illegal substances, but those who engage may not be aware of the effects of consuming or the dangers associated with inebriation. Given the recent legalization of certain substances, select drugs are more accessible than ever.
January 23-27 is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week — a time where medical professionals, educators and parents can highlight the dangers and common misconceptions associated with drug and alcohol use and abuse to teens. With hopes to steer our community’s youth into a safe and healthy lifestyle, doctors and nurses at The Portland Clinic continue to offer vital information and counseling to those struggling with addiction and/or looking for more information to stay sober.
With more than $28 million in drugs and drug-related money recovered in 2015, the Portland Police Bureau estimates a five-year trend in drug charges to increase 18 percent in our city. Developing a plan to keep teens informed, whether or not they use illegal substances, is an important step in paving a path to avoiding drug abuse in Portland.
If you suspect your child may be using narcotics or drinking, there are a few steps the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids recommends taking to help initiate a conversation:
- Ask: It’s important to be up-front with your children about the potential harm they are doing to their developing bodies.
- Look for signs: If you’re hesitant to ask, gathering a few pieces of evidence may help jump-start the conversation.
- Learn the risk factors: Understanding the individual, peer, family, school and community environments in which your child lives can help deter use.
For parents, children, students or teachers with questions on drugs and alcohol, the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teachers will be holding a National Drug & Alcohol Chat Day on January 26, touching on topics such as drugs and drug abuse, drug effects, how to help friends or family that are abusing drugs and what causes addiction. Register here: nidachat.org/register.aspx.
Understanding the effects and consequences of drug and alcohol use, not only as a teen, but at all ages, is an important aspect of keeping a safe and healthy lifestyle. The Portland Clinic has multiple resources, available for our neighbors of all ages, to share more information on drug and alcohol abuse and assist any Portland resident who may be dealing with addiction. To make an appointment, please contact The Portland Clinic at 503-223-3113. (please note, we cannot provide medical advice to nonpatients)