TRENTON – The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s (PDFNJ) Center for Prevention Research (CPR) released the results of its 2010 Tracking Survey of Parents’ Attitudes & Behaviors Toward Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention which once again found that the more frequently a family has a meal together the more parents feel that their opinions have an influence in their child’s decision on whether to use drugs or alcohol. The study also found that parents continue to see prescription drug abuse as a serious threat in New Jersey.
“The role of parents in their child’s decision to use and abuse drugs is once again confirmed through this recent research,” explained, Joseph A. Miele, chairman of PDFNJ. “The 2010 Tracking Survey of Parents’ Attitudes & Behaviors Toward Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention shows that New Jersey parents, by the simple act of eating a meal with their child, are creating an environment for their children to feel comfortable about approaching them with discussions about drugs and alcohol.”
According to Miele, the study found parents who frequently have meals with their child (5 or more times a week) are more likely than those who eat together as a family less often to feel that they have “a lot” of influence on their child’s attitude towards alcohol (91% versus 84%), and toward drugs (94% versus 89%)).
In 2010 more parents feel that their opinions are very important when it comes to their child’s decision whether or not to use drugs. Since 2009 more parents are likely to feel their opinion is very important (84% vs. 79%, 2009). “This finding points to the fact that New Jersey parents are becoming increasingly more aware of their role in influencing their child’s behavior,” noted PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo M. Valente. He explained that the study found that three-quarters of parents think that a major reason kids use drugs is because they think that being high feels good (77%). Seven in ten parents think kids use drugs to help them forget their troubles (70%).
Valente further explained that the study found that more parents think kids are getting drugs from their peers than from drug dealers. More than four in ten parents think that children are getting drugs from their classmates (43%) and one-third think they are getting them from friends (33%), while fewer than one in five cite dealers (16%).
New Jersey parents are realizing the growing dangers of prescription drug abuse, Valente explained. He noted that two-thirds of parents (67%) feel that kids get prescription and over-the-counter drugs from their own home medicine cabinet, and that more than four in ten parents (41%) say they have taken steps to secure their home medicine cabinet. Valente added that over 51% of New Jersey parents said they would be interested in a program to help dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine during a local disposal day such as the upcoming American Medicine Chest Challenge (www.americanmedicinechest.com) on Nov. 13.
The PDFNJ Survey of Parents’ Attitudes & Behaviors toward Drug Prevention, an annual survey currently in its fifth year, polled a sample of over 502 parents with children ages 12 to 15. The sample was randomly drawn from a listed sample and conducted between January 21- February 4, 2010. Data were weighted to New Jersey census data for key demographics of households with children ages 12-15. The margin of error at the 95% confidence level is +/- 5 percentage points for the total sample.
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