Adults & Parents - What you can do

Parental involvement is the most effective influence for teen drinking. 

"Set an example."  
  • Children imitate parents.  Parental drinking to handle stress, to be at ease socially, or to elevate mood is behavior that often is imitated by children. Model the behaviors you expect from your children.  Parents can show children that they (parents) can also resist the pressure to drink and replace their own drinking with a healthier lifestyle.  Learn with your children how to have fun, be social, and deal with stress without using alcohol and drugs.  
  • What isn’t good for children usually isn’t good for adults.  Drinking alcohol as an adult also presents great risks—health, social, family, deadly DUI’s, alcoholism, violence, loss of family and employment, even jail/prison sentences.  
  • Parent awareness and involvement are the most effective influence—they are critical.  Teens who learn about the risks of alcohol and drug use at home from their parents or caregivers, are much less likely to use drugs than those teens who do not receive those messages at home.   2/3 of teens who don’t use drugs, refrain because they fear that they will lose their parents’ respect and trust.  
  • Volunteer to help.  Our community can help bring about changes in schools.  Palm Beach Co., Florida schools identified the kids who were most at risk, looking at the whole child (behavior, social, emotional and academic).  The school staff and parents reduced drug and alcohol use among teens by inviting parents to participate; then, significant results occurred.   (For more details, contact Alison Adler, Chief Safety and Learning Environments Advisor)
  • Don’t be blinded by love and remain in denial that your children are involved in anything that would put them in harm’s way.  
  • News reporters and other adults can stop promoting alcohol as a harmless social activity.  
  • Adults should set an example and not glamorize products which kill and destroy health.  What is not good for youth is usually not good for adults either—such as, pornography, alcohol and drugs.  
  • Talk, talk and talk some more.  Parents must talk with their children about the effects and consequences of alcohol abuse as early as possible, and often.   If you need guidelines or help in starting the conversation, ask for it.   
  • Teach children/youth that alcohol and drugs can impact every phase of their life, reduce their ability to learn, impact their health, family, friends and people they don’t even know.  

Be aware, and be there.
  • Teens who learn about the risks of alcohol use from their parents or caregivers are much less likely to use drugs or alcohol than those who do not receive those messages. Parental awareness and involvement is critical.  Two thirds of teens who don’t use drugs or alcohol do so because they fear that they will lose their parents’ respect and trust.
  • Know the signs of teens who are drinking or abusing drugs:
    • Becoming withdrawn
    • Changing their set of friends
    • Changes in behavior
    • Poor attendance at school.

Take action.
  • Teen drinking is a community problem.  Ask for help from clergy, school counselors, mayors, law enforcement and other county resources.  Ask school guidance counselors to speak honestly and openly to parents about the many issues facing students.  
  • Set rules. 
  • Talk openly with your kids.  
  • Know who your children’s friends are, who they are with, and what they are doing.
  • Establish family values and help your children actually define value statements and their personal “code” of behavior.
  • If you believe you or a family member is either addicted or abusing a substance or exhibiting an addictive behavior, we strongly urge you to contact a professional for assistance.  
  • Read the book Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide To The Adolescent Brain For Parents and Teens, by David Walsh, PhD.
  • Learn from the success of others.  Palm Beach Co., Florida schools identified the kids who were most at risk, looking at the whole child (behavior, social, emotional and academic).  The school staff and parents worked together to reduce drug and alcohol use among teens. Once parents were invited to participate, significant results occurred.  The community can help bring about changes in schools.  (Alison Adler, Chief Safety and Learning Environments Advisor)

Do Not Drink Alcohol or Smoke.

  • There are 4 ways a man's health affects his offspring.  A fathers lifestyle may have far more effect on a child's health than doctors originally believed. Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center found, that there are 4 ways a man's health affects his offspring:
1)  An alcoholic father raises the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome and developmental difficulties,
     as three quarters of babies with fetal alcohol problems had fathers who were alcoholics.
2)  Kids of older fathers
(40 and older) have higher rates of schizophrenia, autism, and birth defects.
3)  Your dad's diet impacts how you react to food.
4)  A dad who smokes may cause DNA damage.

Fertility specialists say men are not immune to reproductive aging.  A man's lifestyle, age, and genetics can play just as significant a role in the health of a baby as the mother's health.  ("Dads lifestyle linked to kids' health issues," and "Influence of paternal preconception exposures on their offspring: through epigenetics to phenotype," American Journal of Stem Cells, April 2016)

What You Can Do
  • Other communities have achieved success in reducing drug and alcohol use among teens. View their stories and advice at Time for Family

  • Teach your children that most incidents of rape among college students involve the consumption of alcohol or drugs.   Drugs and alcohol impede judgment and the ability to react and think clearly.  In addition, date rape drugs are dropped into alcohol.  (Source:  “Protecting Students From Sexual Assault, The U.S. Department of Justice, 2016 study released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics); Zinzow, et al. (2011), Krebs, et al. (2016), and Fisher, B. S., Daigle, L. E., Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G. (2003). “Reporting sexual victimization to the police and others: Results from a national-level study of college women [external link].” Criminal Justice and Behavior, 30(1), 6-38)
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Abstemious Outpatient Clinic Inc.  
(509) 326-7721 

Alcoholics Anonymous
AA Meetings
(509) 624-1442

American Behavioral Health Systems Drug Addiction Treatment  
(509) 325-6800

Breakthrough Recovery Group
Valley Redwood Plaza
11711 E. Sprague, Ste D4
Spokane Valley, WA   99206
(509) 927-6838
Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment services and programs.  We incorporate the latest research in neurology and pharmacology, offering an innovative, evidence-based, patient centered substance and mental health treatment experience.

Colonial Clinic Drug Addiction Treatment  
(509) 327-9831 

Community Detox Services of Spokane
312 W. 8th Ave.
(509) 477-4650
Daybreak of Spokane Alcohol Rehab Center
(509) 624-3227 

First Call for Help
(509) 838-4428

Excelsior Youth Centers Inc.
(509) 328-7041 ext.101 

Gateway Counseling Services Alcohol Treatment Center
(509) 532-8855

Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council
(509) 922-8383

Healing Lodge of The Seven Nations Alcohol Rehab Center
(509) 533-6910 

Isabella House Drug Abuse Treatment
(509) 624-1244 ext. 23

Lakeside Recovery Centers Drug Rehab Center  
(509) 328-5234

Native Project
(509) 325-5502 

New Directions Outpatient Clinic Drug Abuse Treatment
(509) 838-0304

New Horizon Counseling Services Drug Treatment Program
(509) 838-6092 ext. 32

New Vision @ Holy Family Hospital
(509) 252-6488

Spokane Addiction Recovery Centers Alcohol Treatment Center
(509) 624-3251

Spokane Regional Health District Drug Treatment Program
(509) 324-1420 

Stepps YFA Connections Drug Addiction Treatment
(509) 532-2000

Sun Ray Court Drug Addiction Treatment, Adult Male Branch
(509) 456-5465

Veterans Affairs Medical Center Substance Abuse Treatment Program
(509) 434-7000

Spokane Drug Rehab Treatment Centers

National Resources: 

A Family Perspective for Substance Abuse:
Implications from the Literature, by Kenneth J Gruber and Melissa Floyd Taylor (now Melissa Floyd  Pickard, published in the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 2006, [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at: 
This paper calls for researchers and treatment providers to increase their recognition of the role that family and family functioning has for understanding the incidence and impact of substance abuse. Substance abuse is identified as a family problem by exploring its occurrence within families as well as its impact on marital relationship, family violence, and child abuse and neglect. The impact of substance abuse on the roles of spouses and parents are examined, as is the impact of substance abuse on children at various developmental stages. The role of the family as participant in active substance abuse as well as a valuable treatment resource is also explored.  Finally, the authors present recommendations for increasing the focus on family in substance abuse research.

CBS News. (n.d.). "Teen drug abuse: 14 mistakes parents make."

Drug Rehab
Addiction to drugs, alcohol and prescription drugs.  Their mission is to equip patients and families with the best information, resources and tools to overcome addition and lead a lifelong recovery. 

Drug Rehab -  Substance Abuse Guide for Parents
Educating yourself, Taking preventative measures, Substance abuse warning signs, and What to do next.

Mercyhurst Civic Institute.
(n.d.).  "Family Ties: How Parents Influence Adolescent Substance Use"

Medical Daily. 
Mientka, M. (2013, May 26).  "Parents Influence Teenagers’ Drug and Alcohol Use More Than They Think."

National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides help to stop drinking. 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  
A national clearing house for alcohol and drug information.  The world’s largest source for free information, programs, and projects on substance abuse and addiction treatments.