Steering Your Teen Away From Drugs

Monday, January 29, 2018

Whatever the situation, you will want your teen to be empowered and armed to make the right decision when the choice arises.

With the legalisation of drugs in some foreign countries and the rampant portrayal of drug-use in media from Hollywood movies to Internet memes, it is hard to avoid exposing your teen to the unwanted influences of drugs. It could be on a holiday abroad, at a nightclub or at a late house party you are unaware about. Whatever the situation, you will want your teen to be empowered and armed to make the right decision when the choice arises.

Know the law

Singapore has some of the strictest laws in the world against drugs, so inform your teen about the serious legal consequences that he or she can face. As long as you are a Singaporean/Permanent Resident, if you are found to have consumed illegal substances even outside of Singapore, you can face the heavy penalty of imprisonment up to 10 years, a fine not exceeding $20,000, or both. This means that your teen can be persecuted for drugs consumed even while overseas on holiday.

Establish communication

As a parent, education, and not censorship, should be the solution. Bring up the topic of drug use first in an open conversation and invite your teen to share his or her views. Creating a congenial and trusting atmosphere will encourage your teen to be more relaxed, honest and candid, and open to your understanding your point of view. Keep the conversation going throughout his or her teen years.

Set boundaries

It is important that your teen knows your expectations of what is tolerable and intolerable behaviour on a regular basis. Not having clear and firm boundaries will make it easier for your teen to overstep them. Check in with him or her often and monitor his or her behaviour so that you are more likely to catch any changes in lifestyle or habits, such as a decline in academic performance or a loss of interest in hobbies.

Be a part of their lives

Teens are more susceptible to drug use when they experience difficulties at home or at school. Drugs then become a means of escape or hope at finding a way out. Be a part of your teen͛s life and make an effort to know his or her friends, usual hangouts and routines. Show concern and be actively involved so that he or she always has you as a trusted confidante.

Build their self-esteem and independence

A teen with a strong sense of self-worth and independence is less likely to succumb to the peer pressure of drug use. Encourage your teen to develop and articulate his or her own sensible opinion on a variety of issues including drugs. Teach your teen how to be firm yet polite in saying 'no' and how to walk away from uncomfortable situations with dignity.

Remind about harsh consequences

Let your child know about the other real and irreversible consequences of drug use and addiction, which include:

  • Physical health problems, including unforeseeable death
  • Mental health issues and irreversible brain damage
  • Strained relationships with family and friends
  • Financial difficulties
  • Decline in academic performance

What you can do

Visit these links for more information on drug abuse

If you notice your teen is behaving strangely and the signs match those of drug addiction, immediate help must be rendered. You may contact the following helplines:

  1. Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA)
    Tel: 1800-733-4444 (Mon-Fri, 8.30AM – 6.00PM)
  2. Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)
    Tel: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours daily)
  3. Teen Challenge (Singapore)
    Tel: 6793 7933 (Mon-Fri, 9.00AM – 6.00PM)
  4. National Addictions Management Services (NAMS)
    Tel: 6732 6837 (Mon-Fri, 8.30AM – 10.00PM)

If you wish to report any information, please call the CNB hotline at 1800-325-6666.

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Contributed By: Health Promotion Board (HPB)
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