Talking to your kids and teens is the best way to prevent them abusing alcohol and drugs

Your conversations are more effective if you have accurate, up-to-date information on the substances they are likely to encounter

• Alcohol advisory
• Marijuana advisory
• Hallucinogens advisory
• Molly (MDMA or Ecstasy) advisory
• Prescription drugs advisory

  • Our parent advisories tell you what you need to know.
  • Our selected readings & viewings cover the essentials on teen addiction.
  • Our Getting Help pages provide guidance on appropriate treatment and support services. Effective treatment developed specifically for adolescents can reduce teens’ use of alcohol and illicit drugs, as well as the behavioral problems associated with drinking and other drug use, and lead to improved mental health and school performance.

Risk factors for teen drug and alcohol abuse

  • Permissive attitudes at home; parents who don’t take drinking as seriously as the use of other illegal substances
  • Parents, siblings or friends who drink and view alcohol favorably
  • Mental health issues including depression, conduct disorders and post-traumatic stress
  • Unstable living arrangements
  • Family members with mental health or substance abuse problems
  • Genetic susceptibility (this can be countered through protective measures)
  • Repeated abuse of alcohol leading to neurological dependence, even without genetic vulnerability

Protective factors against teen drug and alcohol abuse

  • Parental support, communication, and monitoring
  • Friends who do not drink and discourage alcohol use
  • Success in school or work
  • Education, self-monitoring, and social support
  • Participation in positive recreational activities
  • Age-appropriate support services


10 Q&As for parents
Parent Tool Kit
Setting limits, stopping the next high, when to seek help, & more

Understanding addiction & recovery
Addiction Recovery Management Service
Resource for youth and families from the ARMS program at MGH

How to find the best treatment program for your teen
Time magazine
Expertise and resources on navigating an unregulated industry

Kicking the habit: what approach works?
The Fix
Evidence-based advice with a focus on marijuana