When it comes to driving under the influence, teens are influenced by their parents' behavior. A recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 16 and 17 year olds living with parents who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol are far more likely to drive under the influence than adolescents whose parents do not drive under the influence.
As shown in the above chart, 18.3% of teens living with a mother who drove under the influence also drove under the influence, as compared to 10.9% whose mother did not drive under the influence. However, having a father who drove under the influence increased the likelihood that a teen would drive under the influence, from 8.4% to 21.4%.
Just last Tuesday I met with a tired and distraught single mother over a cup of coffee to offer recovery support following the sentencing of her adolescent son to 6 years in prison.
Weeping, distraught, and full of fear about his life, she described how his path of drug use, criminal activity and resistance to all treatment efforts had failed. She felt helpless and like she was being “mean to him” because she recently called him a liar.
She admitted to being obsessed with worry and asked, “How do you let go of your children? Isn’t it different with our kids, isn’t it natural to want to rescue them and protect them from harm and difficulty?”
One of the drawbacks of juvenile court systems is that they often struggle when it comes to connecting kids to their own cultural values. Yet helping the youth and their families do so can tranform families and support teens in living crime-free and drug-free lives.
The Reclaiming Futures site in Santa Cruz saw the need for a culturally-rooted family-strengthening program years ago and adopted an 8-12-week curriculum called Cara y Corazón (literally, "face and heart"), developed by Jerry Tello. After hearing about it for years, I finally had the privilege of seeing Jaime Molina, ASW, Project Director and Community Fellow for the Santa Cruz site, and Joaquin Barreto, MCHS, present the curriculum at the Building Family Strengths conference held in Portland in June. (In the photo above, Jaime is on the left; Joaquin on the right.)
When it comes to the juvenile justice system and adolescent substance abuse, there's always something cooking. Check out this week's bonanza of resources and new stories:
At The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), we’ve been working for years to identify practical, realistic ways to keep kids drug-free. Why? Because a child who reaches age 21 without smoking, using illicit drugs or abusing alcohol is virtually certain never to do so. In other words, sober children become sober adults. And we’ve found that the best chance kids have of reaching age 21 drug-free is engaged parents. Parents have the greatest impact on whether their children will smoke, drink or use drugs.
We've had another response to our recent call for recommendations on good curricula on parenting training. (Other suggestions appear here.) A commenter wondered what other jurisdictions' experience has been with the Family Support Network (FSN) protocol, pictured here.
FSN is one of the five Cannabis Youth Treatment (CYT) protocols tested and promulgated by SAMHSA and CSAT. (You can download all of them here for free.)
So here's the questions:
Kari Collins has a question for you.
Collins, who formerly directed a Reclaiming Futures site, now directs "Kentucky Youth First" for the state of Kentucky. The state-level juvenile justice agency there wants to train its Family Drug Court staff as parenting instructors (a smart move).