In addition to being a time for fun and relaxation, summertime is also a time for young people to abuse substances more frequently. Drug and alcohol experimentation may be more likely among teens who have more free time and fewer responsibilities. Substance abuse can also be exacerbated by changes in social circles and peer pressure that occur during the summer.
Summer is a time when substance abuse can occur for a variety of reasons:
More free time. Teenagers have more free time when school is out. As a result, they may turn to drugs or alcohol for entertainment as a result of boredom and restlessness.
Lack of structure. Teenagers may find it difficult to stay engaged during summer vacation due to the lack of structure. Using substances as a coping mechanism for stress or simply to pass the time can lead to this boredom.
Increasing opportunities for use. Having more free time leads to teens using drugs and alcohol more frequently. Drugs may be introduced to them at parties, when they hang out with drug users, or when they travel to new places.
A change in social circles. During the summer, social circles often change. Adolescents may spend more time with new friends who may have different attitudes about substance use than their old friends. There is a risk of peer pressure and increased temptation to experiment with drugs and alcohol because of this.
Lack of supervision. During the summer, parents may not supervise their children as closely. This may make it easier for teens to use drugs or alcohol without being caught.
Risk-taking behavior. Taking risks is a natural part of a teen's life. Summer can be a time when teens feel more invincible, and risk-taking behavior may be heightened.
Stress relief. As a way to cope with stress, some teens turn to drugs or alcohol. It can be a challenging time for teens during the summer, as they may be starting college or starting a job for the first time.
There are a few things you can do if you are concerned about your teen's substance abuse:
Discuss substance abuse with your teenager. Describe your concerns honestly and openly. Support your teen if they are struggling with substance abuse by letting them know you are there for them.
Set clear rules and expectations about substance use. Be clear about what you expect from your teen.
Be a role model. Show your teen that you can enjoy yourself without taking drugs or drinking alcohol.
Encourage your teen to participate in healthy activities. Activities such as sports, hobbies, and volunteering could be included.
Monitor your child's behavior. If you notice any changes in your mood, behavior, or appearance, you may be abusing substances.
Be involved in your child's life. You should spend time with them, talk to them about their friends and activities, and be aware of where they are.
Get help if needed. You should never hesitate to seek help if you suspect your teen has an addiction problem. For teens who have been impacted by substance abuse, there are many resources available.
Staying safe and healthy during the summer can be achieved by taking steps to prevent substance abuse.
The following additional resources may be useful to you:
National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/
SAMHSA National Helpline: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/
Why does substance abuse increase during the summer?
Summer is a time when substance abuse increases for several reasons. Due to the summer's free time, young people may be more inclined to experiment with drugs or alcohol. They may not be as involved in school or work during the summer.
In addition, the summer months can be stressful and anxiety-producing for some people, who may turn to substance abuse to cope. Last but not least, summer weather can encourage people to spend more time outside, increasing their chances of using drugs and drinking alcohol.
What are the most common substances abused in the summer?
Summertime substance abuse varies according to age group. Marijuana and alcohol are the most common substances abused by teenagers. Young adults abuse alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications, and cocaine.
Generally, however, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications can all be abused during the summer.
What are the signs of substance abuse in the summer?
Depending on the substance being abused, there are different signs of substance abuse. Substance abuse, however, can be detected by the following signs:
A change in behavior such as aggression, moodiness, or withdrawal from family and friends.
An altered appearance, such as weight loss or gain, red or bloodshot eyes, or poor hygiene.
A change in academic or professional performance.
Legal, financial, or health problems.
How can I intervene if I suspect a friend is abusing substances in the summer?
It is important to talk to someone about your concerns if you suspect they are abusing substances in the summer. In addition to offering support and resources, you can also offer treatment options. Alternatively, you can speak with a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher, or counselor, if you don't feel comfortable talking directly with the person.