As Southern California high schools prepare to kick off prom season, experts at Chapman Medical Center Positive Achievement Center are increasing their efforts to educate teens and parents about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) there were 10.4 million drinkers ages 12 to 20 in 1998. More than half five of these were binge drinkers, meaning that they consumed five or more drinks on one occasion.
Research by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) suggests that in the last month half of high school seniors have reported drinking and about a third have been drunk at least once. Teenagers whose parents talk to them regularly about drug abuse are 42% less likely to use these substances, according to a Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
To help parents recognize when their children may be using drugs, the Positive Achievement Center staff suggests parents look for behavioral changes including: mood swings, personality changes, tendency to manipulate, strained communication, withdrawal from family activities and school problems.
In addition to behavioral symptoms, parents should look for physical symptoms as well. They include fatigue, bloodshot eyes, consistently dilated pupils, dizzy spells, stumbling, shaky hands, sudden gain or loss of weight or sleeplessness.