Recent studies have shown that teaching the arts to children and teenagers can reduce drug and alcohol abuse in minors. This is because the arts can bring new opportunities to children and give them something positive to focus on. Also, when children become involved in dance, theatre, music, and painting, it can dramatically increase their sense of self-worth and self-esteem. One of the main reasons that teens start experimenting with drugs and alcohol is because they have low self-esteem.
Teens also try using drugs and alcohol out of boredom or because all of their friends are doing it. If they are putting on a play, for example, they will be too busy with rehearsal–working together to create something–to party. Also, adults can supervise activities more often if they need to be there to teach the kids the arts or to help them to put on a play, music performance, dance recital, etc.
There have been many examples of arts programs throughout the country that have helped kids and teens who are at risk to abuse substances. In many cases, these organizations have gone into areas where children are more at risk to use substances (due to poor education, lack of parental supervision, or gang activity) and seen tremendous results. When children learn a musical instrument or learn how to write poetry, they will have something more positive to focus on.
There is a reason why art therapy is taught in many different addiction treatment centers–to teens and adults alike. Art is a great tool and a healthy outlet for those who are prone to addiction.
It’s important, however, that if your teen is experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and you have noticed a problem that they get help. Here are a list of resources for Colorado kids and teens as well as teens and adults all over the country that are struggling with addiction and substance use disorder.