Summer Teen Drug Use: ARCpoint Labs Provides Warning Signs and Advice

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National Drug Testing Leader Provides “ARCpointers” for Parents Dealing with Potential Teen Drug Use

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The summer is a time of freedom for children across the U.S. But for the parents of preteen and teenage children, it can also mean less supervision and more instances where drugs may be present or being used by peers. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse has released data showing that of all teens that try marijuana, 40% of those tried it for the first time during the summer months. Additionally, about 5,800 try marijuana for the first time each day in June and July alone. Studies from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also show a spike in first-time use of alcohol and cigarettes by youth during the summer months. Opioid abuse has also become a more dangerous issue across the country and according to a study by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and MetLife Foundation, one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime.

ARCpoint Labs is the national leader in drug testing services with nearly 100 franchise locations across the country. The brand is committed to encouraging positive discussion between parents and children about the negative impacts of drug and alcohol abuse. In order to aid parents in dealing with children who may be experimenting with drugs, ARCpoint Labs presents these warning signs as well as some “ARCpointers” for ways to address, discuss, and mitigate any issues.

Trust the Senses - The easiest way to detect if a child has been using drugs is to rely on the senses. Some drugs will leave behind an odor. Teenagers will often times seek to mask the scent with breath mints, cologne/perfume, or sprays. Drug use can cause a change in speaking patterns too. Signs of drug use may include communicating less, speaking slower or faster, or noticeably slurring. Many drugs will cause dilation of pupils, red or watery eyes, and a change in posture. Finally, drastic changes in mood after being out with friends may be a sign that drug activity took place.

  •     ARCpointer: Be present and focused during interactions with children. Know their preferred deodorant, cologne/perfume, type of gum, etc. Open up dialogue with something positive such as, “That’s a nice new scent - what is that?”

If They Check Out, Check In - One of the prime signs of drug use is a decline in participation in activities and a departure from established behavior patterns. During the school year, this can mean skipping classes or even a decline in academic performance. During the summer, it may mean avoiding time with family or their usual groups of friends. Many teenagers naturally experience change in mood, personality, and need more “alone time” during these formative years, but if there is a drastic disconnect between family, friends, and formerly regular activities, then it may likely be time to open up dialogue.

  •     ARCpointer: Be respectful of the time that children need alone, but as a parent, make sure to allocate time for them. Find opportunities to spend time with them in an environment where they are comfortable (dinner, sporting event, fishing trip, visit to the mall) and let conversation develop naturally.

Surf Their Social Media – Teens are very likely to get upset if a parent “monitors” them on social media, but it does offer increased access to indicators of potential drug or alcohol use. Look for statements that seem suspicious, changes in the type or tone of their posts, or posting of pictures, song lyrics, or video clips that appear to have connection to drug culture.

  •     ARCpointer: Establish requirements to connect on all social media platforms that they join from an early age. Get educated on the various social media platforms available and the “unwritten rules” that govern the way people engage. Take an interest in the opinions or patterns of expression and use them as a way to connect outside of social media. Be careful not to embarrass them by too much interaction on social media; they may shut down this and other important lines of communication, or even look for other more discreet means to communicate with friends.

Be Wary of New Kids on The Block - The introduction of new friends or an interest in spending time with new or different peer groups could be a sign of drug use. It is of course natural for many teenagers to develop a variety of different friends. They certainly may change their interests from year to year - and the type of friends that they associate with as a result. But, it’s important to know whom they spend time with, and what home situations exist within the households of these friends. Additionally, teenage romantic relationships can often come with pressures to adopt certain interests, behaviors and opinions, including drug experimentation or use.

  •     ARCpointer: Ask questions about new friends and demonstrate a genuine interest in the types of people with whom they are spending time. Relate to them by sharing personal stories about friends from middle school, high school, and college. Take the time to learn who new friends are, and ask about their parents and home situation. Be engaged in activities, organizations, or events that give access to the parents of friends.

Listen for Signs That They Want To Talk – When establishing a relationship of open dialogue and understanding, children might feel uncomfortable discussing situations or relationships where drugs have been introduced. Look for comments that may reveal a desire to have a deeper chat about the implications of drug experimentation or concerns about social or romantic impacts of responses to drug introduction.

  •     ARCpointer: Ask questions. Find times to just listen and offer opportunities to discuss issues related to drug use. Look for issues and situations in the news, pop culture events, TV shows, music, and movies that allow you to open up dialogue about issues related to drug use and abuse.

Additional educational information and tips are available on the ARCpoint Labs Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ARCpointFranchiseGroup and by following ARCpoint on Twitter at twitter.com/arcpointfg.

ABOUT ARCPOINT LABS
ARCpoint Labs is a Greenville, S.C.-based full-service national third-party provider/administrator providing Accurate, Reliable, and Confidential drug, alcohol, DNA and steroid testing, employment/background and wellness screening and corporate wellness programs. After the success he saw with his own drug screening facility in 1998, 17-year industry expert Felix Mirando saw the growth potential of the brand and founded ARCpoint Franchise Group LLC in 2005. ARCpoint Labs has become one of the fastest growing, and most flexible models in the franchise industry behind the leadership of Mirando, the brand’s chief executive officer, and the corporate team of experts he has assembled in order to stay ahead of trends in the space and constantly look for new revenue streams to benefit existing franchisees and attract new qualified operators to the system. ARCpoint Labs has nearly 100 locations across the country with plans to grow to 325 franchise locations nationwide by 2020. ARCpoint Labs Franchise Group is proud to have landed on Entrepreneur's "Franchise 500" in 2016. The brand was also recognized on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in 2014 and is nationally recognized as a member of the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) and Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA). For more information on ARCpoint Labs visit http://arcpointlabs.com/.

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Lauren Boukas
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