When it comes to drugs and alcohol, the pressures teens face can be overwhelming. Your child’s peers have a big impact on the way your teen talks, what they wear and how they spend their time. When your child’s close friends are experimenting with alcohol or drugs, how do you keep your teen from caving under pressure?

It is important to discuss your concerns with the friend’s parents. Often, they are unaware of their child’s substance use. Communicating with other parents also creates a strong network that can help keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

“The adolescent years are a time when parents really need to be involved. They are the first line of defense in preventing risky behaviors,” Karen Pershing, MDC executive director, said. “They say it takes a village to raise a child. When parents band together, it sends a strong message to teens that drug and alcohol use is taken very seriously.”

This is also a good opportunity to emphasize healthy relationships in your teen’s life. You can’t always pick your child’s friends, but you can empower them to make smart decisions. Encourage your teen to find friends with similar positive interests and goals. You may even consider “nesting” your child into new social circles by encouraging them to be involved in extracurricular activities such as band, student council or sports.

Want to talk with your teen but are unsure where to start? Check out the Parent page and discover ways you can get involved in prevention.