Has a problem, Is in treatment, Needs a service
The role of family in overcoming drug problems
Sometimes you can feel really helpless when a young person you care about is experiencing drug problems. It would be nice to think that “sending them off” to a treatment program would make things OK yeah?
Well did you know that sometimes families themselves can be the best support and help a young person the most? Here’s why.
Unlike some medical issues, drug problems aren’t single disorders only related to the particular young person involved. Instead, a young person’s drug and alcohol using behaviour is influenced by factors in many areas of their life.
Risk and protective factors for drug use that occur at an individual level, within peer groups, at a school and family level and even at a larger community level can all have a great impact on a young person’s substance use.
It is also true that helping a young person address drug related issues isn’t just about eliminating risk factors or fixing problems, it is also about building on strengths and adding protective factors into a young person’s life
Just as problems within families can be a risk factor for drug problems, when families develop or build on strengths and stay connected with young people, this promotes good outcomes.
Apart from just being there, showing love and support and staying connected to a young person, families can also:
- Teach and role model communication skills
- Set effective limits and consequences
- Promote help seeking
- Work with support services