What Do Bullying and Youth Substance Use Have in Common? More Than You Might Think.

Written By: Frances M. Harding, Director, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

October is Bullying Prevention Month and National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, a busy and important time for prevention efforts.  On the surface, bullying and youth substance use may seem like separate problems.  However, from research, we know that youth who use substances are at risk for other problem behaviors during their teen years.  In fact, new findings suggest that middle and high school students who bully their peers are more likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana.
Bullying and substance use among children and teenagers have shared risk and protective factors.  Effective prevention efforts minimize these risk factors and maximize protective factors in a child’s life.  If a problem has already surfaced, learn to recognize the warning signs of bullying and being bullied, underage alcohol use, and drug use to intervene before the problem becomes worse.
But let’s rewind: how do you know which risk and protective factors to focus on?  Read on!