In every state across the country, it is illegal for kids under the age of 18 to buy cigarettes, just as it is illegal for those under the age of 21 to purchase alcohol. With the updated technology used to create IDs, it is harder and harder for teens to get a hold of one that portrays them as older than they are.
So then how is it that so many teens are easily accessing cigarettes and alcohol? A large survey of 9,000 teenagers found that 58 percent were getting these substances from friends and family members, according to HealthDay. Of those who drank alcohol, 39 percent reported that it was given to them by a friend or family, while another 28 percent said that they gave money to an adult who could legally buy alcohol and asked them to purchase it for them.
Dr. Robert Mann was a principal investigator on the survey. In a news release, he said, “Despite efforts to curb youth smoking and prevent youth alcohol use, the survey tells us that youth are still able to easily access these substances, often from the very people who should be looking out for their well-being.”
How Is Your Son Getting Alcohol and Cigarettes?
If you drink regularly, you may not realize when a beer or two goes missing or when the fluid level on a bottle of liquor or wine is lower than it was when you left it. In the same way, it’s not uncommon for smokers to be unaware of missing cigarettes in their pack. Without an indication that a child is drinking or smoking, many parents may not even consider that their teen may be taking these substances from them.
If you have friends who come over and smoke and drink, or if your son is routinely at the house of a friend whose parents smoke and drink, then this may be where he’s getting these substances. Friends who have parents who are heavy drinkers may share what they find at home with your child.
It’s also important to note that many teens use more than just the alcohol and cigarettes they find at home or at the homes of friends. Many find marijuana, cocaine, prescription painkillers and other illicit substances and use the drugs themselves or share them with their peers.
Teen Substance Abuse Treatment
If your son is abusing alcohol and cigarettes—no matter where he’s getting these substances—interceding with treatment and support is the best option. Learn more about the teen-specific, evidence-based treatment services that can help your son move forward and leave all illicit substances behind when you contact us at Muir Wood today.