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Why Your Choice Matters

When it comes to substance use, choice matters - our choices as individuals and our choices as a society. Whether it be a young person standing at a party being offered alcohol for the first time, or a person in active addiction deciding now is the time to take steps toward recovery, their choices will impact their lives and the lives of those around them.

Many teenagers on Cape Cod do not drink alcohol or use drugs – a fact that may be surprising. A young person who knows that they are not alone in their decision to say ‘no’ to substances can have the strength to stand up to the perceived pressure to use them. Their choice matters.

Parents have more influence than anyone else – including peers – on their child’s choice whether or not to drink alcohol or use drugs. Children care about what their parents think and mimic what their parents do. Parents’ choices matter.

People who are actively addicted have a disease that can rob them of their health, family, job, friends, money, place in society, and identity. It was not their intent to become addicted to alcohol or drugs, but accepting that their lives and their choices matter empowers people in active addiction to begin the journey to recovery on a path of their own choosing. Their choices matter.

Shot of a father and son having a heart to heart in the backyard


When talking with your teens about drugs and alcohol, set your terms.

Before even having the discussion, parents should tell their teens that they have something important they would like to talk to them about, and ask them when they would like to have this conversation. The last thing parents want to do is catch their children off-guard when they are busy and are less likely to want to have this important talk. If teens set the time and place for the discussion, there’s a good chance they’ll be more actively engaged

Two soccer girls chasing the ball  captured in perfect synchronization few inches above the field while running in a game.


What are some realistic tips for avoiding pressure from my peers to drink or try substances?
• Say you don’t like the taste of alcohol, or the way substances make you feel.
• Say you’re on medication.
• Say you’re taking on the task of being a designated driver.
• Make your own drinks without alcohol.


Parents, don’t wait until there is a problem to talk with your kids about substance use. They already think they know more than you’re aware.

Kids, your parents are ready to talk with you about substance use. But it’s not up to only them to start the conversation. If you have questions, ask them.

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