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Youth perception of parental ATOD consumption risks substance abuse

In Region 9, there is a strong perception that parents of middle and high school students are accepting of underage alcohol consumption. According to data from the Texas School Survey, over 15% of 11th and 12th grade students believe their parents are indifferent about their underage alcohol consumption. From grades 7 through 12, over 10% of students believe their parents are indifferent to their underage, illegal alcohol consumption. A study from Brown-Forman Law Forum explains that parents are the most likely to influence a child’s perception of consuming alcohol, so changing the perception of parental approval of illegal consumption of alcohol is paramount for environmental change.[i]

Moreover, consumption of the most common drug among youth in Region 9 is marijuana and it is likely that social, parental factors play a role in adolescent marijuana consumption. Kids tend to believe consumption of marijuana is either a nonissue or a good thing by parents or peers.[ii] In the Texas School Survey from 2014, one can see school aged students know that parents disapprove of using marijuana. Over 74% of each grade level cited that “their parents strongly disapprove of kids their age using marijuana.” However, almost 1 in 9 high school seniors believe their parents are indifferent about the consumption of marijuana.

With all of the legalization of marijuana going on around the country it is important for parents to make sure that they talk to their children about using marijuana and how it can affect their young minds. According to the CDC, brain development does not reach its peak until around the age of 25.[iii] Parental approval of consumption of marijuana typically does not consider the effect marijuana can have on the adolescent brain.

Kevin Thompson Regional Evaluator Region 9 Prevention Resource Center kthompson@pbrcada.org

[i]Brown-Forman Law Forum, Underage Drinking, Our Thinking About Drinking, http://www.ourthinkingaboutdrinking.com/issues/underage-drinking/, March 2016.

[ii]National Institute on Drug Abuse, Perception of Risk: fewer Teens Believe Marijuana Is Harmful, https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/perception-risk-fewer-teens-believe-marijuana-harmful, March 2016.

[iii] Center for Disease Control, Brain Development and Drugs, March 2016.



Published August 12, 2016.

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