Don't wait for schools to react to teen substance abuse

August 30, 2011

Summer can be a risky time for teenagers, as idle hours too often intersect with opportinity for substance abuse.

Obligations such as homework and athletic schedules give way to leisure time. It’s easy – and common – for teens to fill that void with drugs or alcohol.

Even parents who recognize the problem can be reluctant to reach out for help.

“If a parent thinks their child may be involved in drugs or alcohol, the most important thing is to seek immediate help,” said Jason Gorham, administrator of Rosecrance’s adolescent-focused Griffin Williamson Campus.

“Don’t wait until after the school year starts,” Gorham said. “It’s easy to think a return to school is going to automatically fix things. But if substance abuse is already a problem, it’s not going to just go away.”

This close to the beginning of the school year, many parents bypass treatment because they don’t want their child to miss any time from school. But a summer’s risky behavior can turn into months of missed learning opportunity.

“Missing a few weeks at the beginning of the year is better than wiping out an entire semester, or worse,” Gorham said.

Rosecrance’s upcoming training, “Why Families Wait to Intervene on a Substance Abuser,” is set for Thursday, Sept. 29, at no charge. The training is at the DePaul University Student Center.

Click here for more information on the seminar.

For more information about services, call 815.391.1000 (or 888.928.5278).

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