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Teen Substance Abuse & Overdose Statistics

New statistics come out every year for just about anything you can imagine. Doctors, psychologists, economists, etc., come together and boil life down into a series of numbers. Why? Because measurable data is the most concrete form of information–it is the basis for many of our scientific decisions, problem-solving, and predictions. Without statistics, all of the data gathered piles up in the corner–harder to relate or understand.

Statistics are loud. We see them and understand them intuitively because numbers make sense; numbers follow a pattern. They are the attention-grabber, the highlight reel–but they are rarely the focus. They melt into the background of whatever words surround them. 

But today, here, right now–the statistics are everything. 

In 2019, 4,777 young adults died from an overdose. The most common cause was heroin and other opioids, with prescription medication coming in second–and 50% of teenagers think that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs. And we know addiction is a lifelong struggle, right? 95,000 total people died of an overdose or substance abuse-related death in 2019.

The statistics are still being compiled for 2020 during the opioid epidemic rise in fentanyl overdoses our country has been facing. The numbers are expected to be on the rise. 

This is not the highlight of a larger argument nor the opening hook for a long article. These numbers are real, and they are powerful enough on their own. Talk to your kids. Raise awareness about the overdose rate and about everything our teenagers deal with day to day. Be a resource. Be a light. 

This is not just happening behind closed doors; it’s happening in our front yards, in school bathrooms, in public. 4,777 teen substance abuse-related deaths in 2019 alone… don’t let your child become just another statistic.

If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues, please give us a call at 888-966-8604 or visit us online at clearforkacademy.com. We want to help.

 

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Back-to-School: Teen Alcohol Use

School is almost back in session, and so are the back-to-school parties. Experimentation with alcohol may seem like a rite of passage, but we lose nearly 5,000 teens a year to alcohol use.   

The shift from childhood to adolescence to adulthood can be jarring, particularly because of the emotional, physical, and hormonal changes that come with it. Studies have associated underage drinking with the increase in independence teens find as they get older, meaning teens could be more likely to drink just because of their age range. 

One in seven 8th graders try alcohol for the first time within the first few weeks of school, not because they are actively seeking to engage in risky behavior, but often in tandem with growing older. 

Risk-taking behaviors, such as drinking and driving, are the most significant cause of alcohol-related teen deaths. The brain keeps forming well into our twenties, which puts teens at the cognitive disadvantage of not being fully developed as they gain more and more independence. Impulse control is one cognitive process still under construction for adolescents and can make it harder to avoid taking risks or succumbing to peer pressure.

If a child starts actively drinking by the age of 15, they have a much higher chance of creating a long-term dependence on alcohol. Expectancy has also been associated with underage drinking: if a child expects it to be a pleasurable experience, they are more likely to try it for themselves. 

So, how do we help provide guidance as parents during this particularly vulnerable part of the year? It starts with setting our intentions and expectations as we transition from summer (a time of independence for many kiddos) to school (a more structured routine). Start having conversations about drinking now, before the temptations start. 

Discuss the boundaries your home has with alcohol, whatever they may be, early and reiterate them as often as necessary.

If your family needs additional support for your unique situation, please give us a call at 888-966-8604 or email us at help@clearforkacademy.com to connect with one of our specialists. Our phone, email, and hearts are open 24/7–let’s connect.

 

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Substance Abuse Resources for Parents

As parents, we want to have all of the answers for our kids, right? This can be incredibly challenging for parents of teens struggling with substance abuse. As your family tackles this complex topic, how can you educate yourselves and develop strategies that work for you? Clearfork Academy is here with three essential resources for parents that will fill your cup with knowledge, your toolbox with solutions, and hopefully your hearts with comfort. Let’s take a look.

 

1.  The Big Book

The Big Book is the all-encompassing guide to the twelve-step program of AA and the building block of many substance abuse programs we see today. This text lays out the cornerstone concepts of recovery, shares stories from men and women that have overcome addiction, and will give every parent a solid base to build from on their own. 

There’s no right or wrong way to read the Big Book, but we do recommend taking notes, using tabs to highlight sections you find meaningful, and reading through it more than once. Each new dive will lead you to new discoveries. Compulsivity and your child’s experiences can be examined. This book will help you really understand the ways you can help as a parent. 

Both AA and the sister program, Al-Anon, have more recommendations and great resources on their websites as well. 

 

2. Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Radical Candor by Kim Scott is a fantastic resource for leadership strategies and communication. Scott bases her book on a quadrant system that breaks down boundaries/expectations, communication, incentives, etc. This is a necessary resource because it arms parents with the tools they need to really impact their teen’s development during all of these crazy changes. 

We’ve seen parents throw money at problems, avoid discipline for bad behaviors, and overall just lack a clear outline of expectations. This book will help you identify your non-negotiables as a family, strategies for implementing real change, and coping strategies for when communication breaks down.

 

3. Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Ed Welch

Lastly, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Ed Welch is an invaluable resource that molds the worlds of spirituality and science together to talk about recovery. Not only does it break down the science behind addiction, like maladaptive patterns of behavior, but it also centers itself on strong religious beliefs to help families find hope in the power of the gospel. 

Welch discusses questions regarding shame, the status of addiction as sin/disease, and more in a way that is really accessible to all readers. This is one of the best compliments of these resources that we have seen. 

 

So, now that you’re armed with some great resources to expand your knowledge of substance abuse, it’s time to get to work. Read and research whatever you can get your hands on–there is no such thing as too much information. 

For additional resources, please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com or visit us at clearforkacademy.com to see our glossary of substance abuse and recovery terms. Our team of specialists is standing by to help your family with your unique situation or just to talk and help you answer some questions.