for Families

The average age kids try drugs for the first time is 13.

For parents, this is a pivotal time in helping kids make positive choices when faced with drugs and alcohol. If your child is 13, says Amelia Arria, senior scientist with Treatment Research Institute, you should assume that he or she has been offered drugs or alcohol.  But you can help your teen stay healthy and drug-free — and beat the negative statistics about drug use among teens.

Kids who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use.
— DATA SOURCE: SAMHSA, 2009 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

So, most importantly, stay involved. Young teens may say they don't need your guidance, but they're much more open to it than they'll ever let on. Make sure you talk to them about their choices of friends — drug and alcohol use in teens starts as a social behavior.