Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse


What is Substance Abuse?

The use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in a manner or in quantities other than directed.

Engaging in the distribution or use of illegal, prescription and over-the-counter Drugs:

  • Illegal drugs are not the only substances that can be abused. Alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter medications, inhalants and solvents, and even coffee and cigarettes, can all be used to harmful excess. Theoretically, almost any substance can be abused.
  • Parents and teachers need to recognize that substance abuse is a serious threat to the physical well-being of children and adolescents (such as danger to the brain and other vital organs) and their psychological functioning (such as impaired memory, judgment, ability to learn, and decline in academic performance). Children who use drugs and alcohol are also more prone to accidents, risky sexual behavior, violence, and thoughts of suicide.

Signs of substance use can also include declining grades, cutting classes, dropping out of activities, getting into more arguments, or changing their regular social group of friends.  Parents can be alert to noticing more direct signs such as missing pills, unexplained over-the-counter medications in the house, cigarettes or rolling paper in the laundry, or smells of alcohol or smoke.

Social, emotional, and family influences: Parents must understand why children and adolescents use drugs and alcohol. The desire to be accepted into a social group, peer pressure and curiosity are common reasons. Children also use drugs to deal with depression, boredom, anger and anxiety. However, research suggests that drug use by family members plays a strong role in whether children in the family start using drugs.

Statistics show that substance abuse trends are increasing.  For this reason, it is important to educate our children about substance abuse prevention at an early age.

  • Alcohol is the number one abused substance by teenagers in the United States. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse-Columbia University, “underage drinkers account for 11.4% of all the alcohol consumed in the United States.
  • It is important to keep in mind that parents are the first and most powerful influences in a child’s life. As a parent, your child looks to you for help and guidance in making important decisions, including the decision not to use drugs. As a role model, your decision not to use illegal drugs will reinforce your message to your child.
  • Pronounced changes in your teenager could mean drug use.

Schools, parents and students must work together to address substance abuse.

During the month of November, campuses highlight this topic with information to staff, students and parents.  Check out our implementation guide for prevention ideas.


Quick Reference Links:

Tips for Parents:;

Tips for parents & Educators


RISD Resources:

  • Red Ribbon Week
  • Rockwall ISD Student Code of Conduct



Support & Resources for Parents

Protect Children

Drug Abuse Resistance Education

Teen Drug Abuse

Free Parenting Help

Strategies: Parental Involvement

Substance Abuse