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National Survey: Parents Report Increased Awareness of Risks of Teen Prescription Drug Abuse, But Preventative Action Lags
Date:5/4/2009

they were preparing to enter a new grade in school, and nearly 30 percent of parents in 2008 used special occasions including prom and graduation as an opportunity to have the conversation, up from just 18 percent in 2007.

"As parents feel more confident talking with their kids about the risks of drug and alcohol use, it is crucial for them to capitalize on opportunities to keep the conversation going," said Dennis White, President and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "Parents and caregivers can use 'teachable moments,' such as a relevant local news story or a show featuring a drug topic, as a natural conversation starter."

Mothers Take the Lead in Monitoring, Dads Have Opportunity to Engage More With Kids

The 2008 PATS study reveals a jump in the number of parents who are aware of their ability to influence their teens' decision to use drugs or alcohol. The percentage of parents who agreed with the statement "there is very little parents can do to prevent their kids from trying drugs (other than alcohol)" dropped nearly 40 percent since 2007 to just 21 percent in 2008. More parents believe that they can help prevent alcohol use as well, with just 23 percent agreeing that there is little parents can do to prevent drinking, down from 34 percent in 2007.

As parents gain confidence in their prevention abilities, they are less likely to view educating kids about the risks of drug use as the responsibility of their child's school. Fewer than 1 in 3 parents (27 percent) in 2008 agreed that schools should be primarily responsible for drug education, down from nearly 40 percent the previous year.

Within the home, however, there are dramatic differences in attitudes between mothers and fathers. Fathers were nearly three times as likely to believe that drug education should take place in school (34 percent of fathers versus 10 percent of mothers). Additionally,
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SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free America
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