What Are the Benefits of Drug Awareness Education for Teens?

Photo by J. Erickson

Teaching teenagers drug awareness is a popular method to deter youth from abusing such substances. Whether it is alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription or even over-the-counter drugs, all of these items can prove damaging and even fatal to teens who abuse them. According to TeenDrugAbuse.

us, teenagers whose parents inform them of the potential dangers surrounding drug use are 42 per cent less likely to use drugs.


Drug awareness and prevention programs for teens can originate from many places. Many school systems offer some form of in-school drug-awareness program such as DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). Some organisations also hold classes or give school speeches to inform teens and adolescents about drug prevention. Parents also play an integral role in informing their children of the dangers of drug use. The foundation The Courage to Speak even offers an education program for parents called Courageous Parenting 101 to teach parents how to handle teen drug prevention and abuse at home.


Teen drug awareness programs became especially popular during the 1980s when the "Just Say No" campaign was introduced. The campaign began after a comment made by Nancy Reagan in 1982 when a school-age girl asked Reagan what to do if offered drugs. The phrase quickly inspired many drug prevention programs and organisations designed to educate teens on the dangers of drug use.


Drug awareness programs for teens can help prevent youth from drug use; however, certain programs appear to be more effective than others. According to DrugAbuse.gov, science-validated programs have been shown to prevent youth drug addiction. Science-validated programs are designed to increase protective factors and reduce risk factors for teenage drug use. They are designed according to existing scholarship and are tested repeatedly. One such program was developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and involves a research-centric guide for communities, parents and educators to assist in drug-awareness education.

Future Benefits

In addition to the reduction of drug use for teens, drug education can also affect drug use in adulthood. According to Health.com, teens who do not partake in alcohol, cigarettes or drugs during their youth are much less likely to use them as adults. Therefore, ensuring that teens are aware of the dangers of drug abuse and are thus deterred from drug usage are more likely to abstain from these substances when they enter adulthood.

Drug Education and Sex

In addition to the specific benefits that result from drug education, this type of education may also reduce risky sexual activity by teens. According to ScienceDaily.com, a study published in the "Journal of Adolescent Health" reported findings that young adults who participated in a popular substance abuse prevention program were much less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour more than five years later.