Teaching Children About the Dangers of Drug Addiction

By educating children about the risks of drug addiction, we can help them understand the consequences of their actions and make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Afzal Badshah, PhD
Age of Awareness
6 min readMar 19, 2023

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Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash

“Addiction is a disease, not a character flaw. It takes great courage and strength to confront the monster of addiction and try to put it in its place.” — Demi Lovato

One day, students reported that two schoolchildren were unconscious. When they were brought in, they were not in their full senses. When they were asked about their condition, they said that someone had given them something to eat and that was why they were in this condition. However, their condition was clearly showing that they had consumed drugs. These were ninth-grade students who had been consuming drugs. This is an alarming issue that everyone needs to address, particularly our parents and teachers.

What statistics say

In 2017, an estimated 35 million people were suffering from drug use disorders, including dependence on opioids. Substance use is indirectly and directly responsible for 11.8 million deaths each year.

Habits of normal children

Normal children have normal routines and are confident in their activities. They do not hide anything or feel confused. They have healthy relationships and healthy communication, and they do well in their studies. They also give proper time to their social circle and games.

Pre-addiction habits

Before going through complete drug addiction, the child will isolate themselves and will avoid socialization. They will be depressed and always try to hide something. Similarly, they will lose interest in their daily routine and studies, which leads to poor grades.

Reasons for drug consumption

In children, I believe neglect is the primary cause. I don’t think any child can become addicted to drugs etc. without neglect from home. Neglect is the first step towards bad addiction in children. Peer pressure is the second reason, however, it is closely linked to neglect. If the child is not neglected, they will be connected with their parents and will not become part of bad groups. Life problems may lead to drug addiction, however, it is again strongly dependent on neglect, bad groups, and peer pressure.

Risks of drug addiction

The risks of drug addiction are not limited and cannot be included in a limited space; however, they can be categorised as follows:

  1. Biological: Experts say that drug addiction can have an impact on genetics, brain structure, and hormones.
  2. Social: Drug addiction affects our society, with negative effects on the surrounding environment.
  3. Individual: These effects are limited to the individual only. For example, they can lose their health, job, relationships, etc.

What leads to addiction

The one thing parents must know is the power of strong contact with their children. The gap between parents and children can lead to disastrous consequences. If parents have a strong relationship with their children, they will likely share everything with them. With this sharing, parents can guide their children and provide a positive nurturing environment. On the other hand, if parents don’t have a strong relationship with their children, they will not share anything with them and may seek out someone from outside for sharing. This is the first step towards developing bad habits, which can have a range of negative consequences, such as loss of health, job, and relationships.

The cycle of drug addiction

Unfortunately, if the first condition is met, children will search for the outside world. If they become members of bad groups and associate with bad peers, they will continue with them. Children will look less to their parents and more to their peers for guidance. Peer relationships provide a unique context in which children can learn a range of important social-emotional skills, such as empathy, cooperation, and problem-solving skills. However, peer relationships can also have a negative impact on social-emotional development. Therefore, it is important for parents to be aware of their child’s peers and their activities and monitor them on a daily basis.

How can it be avoided?

You will be able to correct children only when you have a strong bond with them. There is a huge misconception that the stricter the parents are with the children, the better the children will be, which is completely wrong. This weakens the bond between parents and children and the children start looking outward. Give children positive time. Nowadays, parents sit with children and both watch the screen together. And if the parents want to do something more, they put on the child’s favourite program or cartoon. Repeatedly doing this is extremely harmful. This is not a positive time.

Maintain discipline at home, adopt it yourself, and the child will follow the same environment. Without discipline, when a child grows up, it can seem as if there are no boundaries in life. Children look to their parents to define these boundaries. On the other hand, some parents practice strict discipline (authoritarian parents) and do not allow their children to explore their world. This can often cause children to become fearful, anxious, or depressed. It has been seen that such children grow up to become rebels who neither obeys their parents nor their teachers.

Photo by GRAS GRÜN on Unsplash

As a parent and teacher, it can be painful to enforce discipline at home and school. However, if you do not bear the pain of discipline, you will have to bear the pain and suffering of regret, which is much more painful than the pain of discipline. Therefore, it is necessary to have clear rules and regulations at schools and homes.

A child can easily be made into good person if they are raised well from the start, but once a child is distracted, it is very difficult to correct them.

Human is driven by their unconscious. Big decisions in life are made unconsciously, not consciously. The habits we adopt can be good or bad; they can be developed consciously or unconsciously — this is actually our unconscious mind. We are not what we look like physically, how we dress, or how we talk. We are what our habits are, what our subconscious is. Bad habits are easy to choose from, but living with them is difficult and uncertain. On the contrary, good habits are hard to pick but easy to live with. If there is discipline in the house, then their unconscious will be formed along with it, and they will live their life with this unconscious.

Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life, but when they become excessive, they can have a damaging effect on a child’s physical, mental, and emotional health. It is essential for parents to help children learn how to manage their stress and anxiety in a healthy manner.

I have seen that children form groups based on their routines and interests and try to stay in them. Due to peer pressure, this relationship becomes quite strong. Under such pressure, they are willing to do anything. Positive group children are well-behaved while negative group children often ignore their parents and teachers and sometimes become rebellious. Therefore, it is necessary to keep complete information about your children's friends and groups.

Yes, discuss with your children about drugs. Give them real-life examples of drug-addicted people and their lives. This can alarm them about the disastrous effects of drug use.

What is important to know about drug addiction is a disease. No one comes here with a decision. It is a mental disease, which brought them there. It can be prevented and cured.

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Afzal Badshah, PhD
Age of Awareness

Dr Afzal Badshah focuses on academic skills, pedagogy (teaching skills) and life skills.