“The Addiction Inoculation is a vital look into best practices parenting. Writing as a teacher, a mother, and, as it happens, a recovering alcoholic, Lahey's stance is so compassionate, her advice so smart, any and all parents will benefit from her hard-won wisdom.” —Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex and Boys & Sex
In this supportive, life-saving resource, the New York Times bestselling author of The Gift of Failure helps parents and educators understand the roots of substance abuse and identify who is most at risk for addiction, and offers practical steps for prevention.
Jessica Lahey was born into a family with a long history of alcoholism and drug abuse. Despite her desire to thwart her genetic legacy, she became an alcoholic and didn’t find her way out until her early forties. Jessica has worked as a teacher in substance abuse programs for teens, and was determined to inoculate her two adolescent sons against their most dangerous inheritance. All children, regardless of their genetics, are at some risk for substance abuse. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, teen drug addiction is the nation’s largest preventable and costly health problem. Despite the existence of proven preventive strategies, nine out of ten adults with substance use disorder report they began drinking and taking drugs before age eighteen.
The Addiction Inoculation is a comprehensive resource parents and educators can use to prevent substance abuse in children. Based on research in child welfare, psychology, substance abuse, and developmental neuroscience, this essential guide provides evidence-based strategies and practical tools adults need to understand, support, and educate resilient, addiction-resistant children. The guidelines are age-appropriate and actionable—from navigating a child’s risk for addiction, to interpreting signs of early abuse, to advice for broaching difficult conversations with children.
The Addiction Inoculation is an empathetic, accessible resource for anyone who plays a vital role in children’s lives—parents, teachers, coaches, or pediatricians—to help them raise kids who will grow up healthy, happy, and addiction-free.
"Effective prevention requires us to understand why a kid picks up that first mind-altering chemical," writes journalist and teacher Lahey (The Gift of Failure) in this powerful guide to countering youth substance abuse. After battling her own alcohol addiction in her 40s, Lahey vowed to "figure out how to prevent my children from having to travel the same path." She offers a look at the history of various anti-drug campaigns (such as D.A.R.E.'s scare tactics) and the science behind adolescent behavior and addiction, and tackles such topics as the destructive spiral of shame and silence, the connection between stress and substance abuse, and the importance of "self-efficacy" in kids. Lahey offers no shortage of advice: turn off phones and TVs to make time for open conversations about addiction, respond without judgment if kids mess up, and spell out family expectations ("We don't take illegal drugs"). Most memorable are the experiences of Lahey's former students, such as one who made a moving turnaround after a stint in rehab. Urgent and practical, this is a must-read for parents, teachers, and anyone working with teenagers.