Parents & Adults


Research consistently shows that parents, are the number one influence for kids when it comes to making choices about drug and alcohol use. The most common reason that youth cite for why they don't use drugs/alcohol is because they don't want to disappoint their parents. Engagement in your child's life is one of the most powerful prevention tools; it is an important step to giving them a healthy childhood and help them become productive adults.

So How do you Make Sure You're Engaged?

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has developed these nine facets of parental engagement. Utilizing these tools goes far beyond drug and alcohol prevention and leads to better long term relationships with your teens. Teens who have hands on parents are much less likely to get involved in drug and alcohol use and parents who are engaged are much more likely to recognize the signs of potential use.

Other Resources:

Know the Symptoms of Drug Use: Here are some of the general symptoms that may reveal current drug use:

  • Excessive talking, rapid or slurred speech
  • Bizarre or paranoid comments
  • Excessive forgetfulness
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts
  • Lack of coordination, poor balance, tipsy walking
  • Inability to concentrate or follow a conversation
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated or very small pupils
  • Excessive sweating, jitters, and jumpiness
  • Nodding off (eyes closing, head falling forward)
  • Nosebleeds, excessively rubbing or wiping the nose
  • Constantly popping breath mints, chewing gum, or drinking a flavored drink immediately before talking to you (to cover the smell of alcohol or smoke)
  • Missing prescription drugs
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia such as tin foil, rolling papers, pipes, straws, plastic bags
  • Increased accumulation of inhalable products such as glue, hairspray, or nail polish
  • Increased accumulation of over-the-counter cold medicine
  • Use of incense, room deodorant, or perfumes to hide smoke or chemical odors on clothing or in a room
  • Stealing money or valuable items, spending money but nothing to show for

If You Think Your Child is Using Drugs: If you suspect that your child is using alcohol or drugs your role is to intervene early. Ending the behavior early significantly reduces the risk that your child's use will lead to harm such as poor school performance, legal problems, brain damage, or addiction. You can start intervening by taking the following steps:

  • Calmly discuss your concerns with your child
  • Assess the severity of the situation
  • Enforce consequences for your child's actions
  • Monitor your child closely
  • Increase family time
  • Get your child involved in constructive activities
  • Seek professional advice

Parent and adults can request 'Shawna Has a Secret' presentation for additional information on substance abuse prevention. An on-line example of Shawna Has a Secret can be found here (thank you to Power to the Parent).

Contact the CASA-Trinity for prevention, evaluation and treatment:

Geneseo Office: (585) 991-5012 • Dansville Office: (585) 335-5052 
• Elmira Office: (607) 737-5215 • Tioga County Office: (607) 223-4066 
• Bradford County (Sayre), PA Office: (570) 731-4534 


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