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March 05, 2010

2009 Partnership/ MetLife Foundation Attitude Tracking Study (PATS)

This week’s release by the Partnership/MetLIfe Foundation Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) offers both encouraging and at the same time alarming trends in Teen and Parent attitudes toward substance use.  There is positive news about some substances and drug of abuse, however, the dramatic and alarming increases in use of alcohol, marijuana and Ecstasy coupled with the decline in perceptions of harm by both teens and parents are strong indications that American Society is on the precipice of a perfect storm of adolescent abuse not experienced in the United State since the 1990s. 

This storm is fed by a growing climate of denial which sees teens agreeing that “being high feels good” and parents of teens who have drug and alcohol problems either waiting or taking no action at all to address the problem.  The ever growing number of pro-drug cues in popular culture while Federal funding of prevention programs is experiencing an unprecedented decline only adds to the tempest.  The 2009 PATS Report should be a clarion call to parents to arm themselves with the online tools that are now available to combat adolescent drug abuse and act decisively.   The Partnership for A Drug Free America’s websites of Time to Talk http://www.timetotalk.org/ and Time to Act http://timetoact.drugfree.org/ can provide valuable insight and suggestions at critical junctures when parents need them the most to confront the challenges of teen drug and alcohol use.  What to do, what to say and where to go for help are always the first questions parents ask when they discover a problem.

   In 2000 when my wife and I discovered that our 15 year old son David had a serious problem abusing alcohol and marijuana we took him to a treatment center to be assessed and were told he needed professional help.  The Center was temporarily full so we decided to try and handle it on our own.  But we were wrong.  Our delay in seeking help enabled his disease to progress rapidly in spite of the efforts of his counselors, family and friends.  David died in a drug related drowning eleven month after we first learned of his problem. Addiction in adolescents can occur rapidly which is why it is crucial to identify the signs of addiction and act immediately. 

Delay is not only perilous but it can have tragic results…we know that all too well now.

March 5, 2010 at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack