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Summer Highs & Lows: What to Know about First-time Drug Use

Summer can be the perfect time to attend festivals, concerts, and other events with friends. These events can involve meeting new people who are there to have a good time. However, what constitutes a good time can look drastically different depending on who you ask. For some, the use of drugs or alcohol is the go-to ticket for fun, and with kids being out of school for the summer, there is a potential lack of adult supervision, structure, and stability that can otherwise be a safety net during the school year.

Several studies have shown that first-time substance use is most likely to happen during the summer for many teens and adults. Substance use can include using alcohol, illegal drugs or, misusing prescriptions, and can lead to forming a physical or psychological dependence on the substances used. If you have a suspicion that a loved one may be experimenting with substances, here are some indicators to know:

  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Irregular mood swings
  • Withdrawal from family members and friends
  • Lack of personal grooming and good hygiene
  • Decreased or lost interest in activities the person normally enjoys
  • Suddenly becoming over-protective of personal belongings

“When talking to a loved one about their substance use, it’s important to be gentle and approach without judgement,” says Lara Shaw, Prevention Specialist at Centerstone. “It’s best to use ‘I’ statements rather than ‘you’ statements,” she adds. If parents approach with judgement, it may push their child away and cause them to isolate. This is especially important to note if you believe your child’s substance use is a result of peer pressure, as confrontation may cause the child to lean on those same peers for support, which could lead them down a path of continued use.

If you are approaching a friend about their substance use, Shaw says to “let them know that you care about them and that you’re concerned about them.” It’s important to avoid statements like “you know better” and “I don’t want to be your friend anymore because of this,” as these phrases may lead to feelings of shame or guilt.

Most importantly, let that person know that you are there to support them, to get them the help they need, and that recovery is possible.

If you are someone you know has been affected by substance use, Centerstone can help. Call us at 877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123) or visit our addiction recovery page.

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