Three national organizations, the Partnership for a Drug Free America, the National Military Family Association and the National Association of School Nurses, have teamed up to focus on America’s military teens with an online education campaign, launched.
TimeToTalk.org/Military provides parents with guidance, tips, tools, and scripts to help and encourage parents to talk to their teens about substance abuse–how to bring up the topic, initiate effective conversations, and to encourage their teens to talk about what they’re going through, especially now, in a time of war.
Overall, teens are more susceptible to try and experiment with signs of addiction to drugs and alcohol during periods of transition, due to the heightened stress and anxiety. Military kids are especially susceptible, having more than several regular transitions. On average, a military teen moves every three years from ordinary military relocation. During times of war, the frequency increases as the parent(s) mobilize for duty, in addition to the stress and anxiety of watching a parent leave for combat.
Moreover, as more military personnel return home injured, teens have more access to prescription painkillers–one of the most commonly abused substances along with alcohol and marijuana.
Although there is currently no available evidence that suggests that there is more substance abuse amongst American military teens versus non-military teens, the anecdotal reports that the three organizations have encountered is alarming enough to cause concern and a need to take action.