Friday, October 26, 2007

But This Isn't Nearly as Scary

One of the supporting pillars of the scare world we're told over and over by drug warriors is how parents are so clueless about their kids' drug use, how any kid could be doing drugs, how kids and drugs go together like bees and honey and parents are just deniers if they don't believe it, bwahahahahaha. Well, like most scary but untrue stories, there's enough reality with enough parents to allow examples. Just turns out that there aren't that many of them.

New research results from the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) suggest that most parents are aware of and accurately evaluate the extent of their teenager's cigarette smoking, marijuana use, drinking and overall substance use.

Researchers also found that in cases where parents provided lower estimates of substance use, parents were nearly twice as likely to underestimate frequency of marijuana use and quantity of alcohol use. Parents also were less likely to be aware of extent of use by younger teens and of their children's use if they themselves had personal problems or were using alcohol more frequently.

What is novel about these findings is that for the first time, detailed statistics are available about parental knowledge of teen substance use for families in which the teen's substance use is causing the parent stress, but the teen is not necessarily in treatment. Previous studies have been restricted to families with a teen in substance-abuse treatment or families with no current substance use issues.
According to lead researcher Neil B. McGillicuddy, Ph.D., "This study begins to dispel the notion that parents don't know the extent to which their teens are using cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs. It seems that, despite a few exceptions, many parents do know the extent of their teenager's substance use. Parents can use this knowledge to help themselves cope with teenage substance use and the resulting stress on the family, as well as to begin conversations with their teen about making changes."

There are provisos that you should be aware of, but this is basically very reassuring news. Maybe we all aren't dullards, after all.

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