Are You More Likely To Abuse Drugs If Your Parents Do?

Published: September 10, 2014
Dear Are You More Likely To Abuse Drugs If Your Parents Do?,

My friend said that you are more likely to abuse drugs if your parents do. Is that true?


Dear Are You More Likely To Abuse Drugs If Your Parents Do?,

According to NIDA, research shows that children with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs are more likely to try alcohol or drugs and develop alcoholism or drug addiction. This is because:

  • Children whose parents abuse alcohol are more likely to develop behavioral problems which can increase the risk of trying alcohol or drugs.
  • Children whose parents abuse alcohol or drugs are exposed to more opportunities to try these substances.
  • Children of parents who abuse drugs may inherit a genetic predisposition for addiction.

Please keep in mind that someone whose parents abuse alcohol and/or drugs are not automatically going to become people with substance abuse issues, themselves. But what TeenHealthFX will say is that if there is a family history of substance abuse, better not to start to use at all – or to get help to stop immediately if you have started.

If you live with a parent or caregiver who is abusing drugs and/or alcohol, or you have started to use drugs and/or alcohol, reach out for help. If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

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