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(Phoenix, AZ) August, 2012 – A new school year brings new classes, experiences and challenges. It can also put children at risk of alcohol and drug abuse. According to a 2011 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the proportion of young people using any illicit drug has been rising gradually, due largely to increased marijuana use.

The survey finds:

  • 50% of high school seniors reported having tried an illicit drug
  • 38% of high school sophomores reported having tried an illicit drug
  • 20% of 8th graders reported having tried an illicit drug

“Parents have a greater influence on preventing drug and alcohol use than they think,” says Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Jan Hamilton. “By talking openly with their children about the dangers, parents can greatly reduce high risk behaviors.”

She offers these “homework assignments” for parents:

  • Talk often – one warning to stay away from drugs won’t do it. Continuous conversations are most effective including how children will handle various scenarios.
  • Monitor and lock up prescription drugs. Throw away unneeded/expired meds.
  • Create a contract – with your child’s input, put expectations in writing. This can include drug and alcohol abstinence and other issues like curfew and grades.

Jan is available to discuss the homework assignments and the following warning signs:

  • Drop in grades
  • Acting distant from family
  • Hanging out with a different crowd
  • Significant changes in eating or sleeping habits


About Doorways LLC.

Doorways LLC is a faith-based counseling organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides comprehensive outpatient treatment focused exclusively on adolescents, young adults and their families. Therapists at Doorways specialize in treatment for eating disorders, mood disorders, substance abuse, depression, ADD/ADHD, self-harm, suicide and more.  For more information, visit, or call 602-997-2880.