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Summertime boredom can lead to uptick in drugs, alcohol use for kids

PHOENIX — Extra free time during summer break could lead to some kids experimenting with drugs and alcohol, an expert who works with high-risk teenagers said.

Dr. Jon McCaine with Bayless Healthcare said, once the demands and structure of everyday school activities end for the summer, kids can get bored. With that boredom could come an increased desire to act on the urge to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

“Essentially, the substance use during the summer starts to mirror the tendencies for increased use on Fridays and Saturdays on the weekends during school,” he said.

McCaine said marijuana use is up among teenagers, while alcohol use has fallen. The scariest concern for parents is heroin, which is highly addictive.

The first thing parents can do to prevent drug and alcohol experimentation is to start and open and ongoing conversation.

“Understand that, if you have a junior and high school kid, they’re being exposed to substance use during the school years and summer,” he said. “It’s important to just have those conversations.”

Parents can start the conversation with simple questions, such as if they have been offered substances or how they feel about drugs in general.

The important thing, according to McCaine, is to get the talk going.

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