For Edgar Gonzalez Anaheim is home. He has lived in Orange County all of his life and he has seen its tremendous strengths, but also its tremendous weaknesses. One of the key weaknesses he found is that, in both Anaheim and Santa Ana, there seems to be a real issue with young people who drop out of school and who then turn to drugs and other illicit activities. However, that is when he came across the Who’s Next Boxing Academy, which provides a supportive environment for these young people, introducing them to boxing and baseball as an alternative to drug use. This, in turn, has helped Gonzalez develop top 10 strategies for preventing drug abuse in young people.
Edgar Gonzalez Top 10 Drug Prevention Tips for Youths
- Children should still be taught to “just say no”. While some people believe that slogan died with the turn of the Millennium, the reality is that it is just as strong as ever. Children have to remember that it is ok to say no – to drugs, to sex, to violence, to truancy, and so on.
- Children should be provided with supportive environments in which they can connect with their peers in a positive manner. Sport is an excellent opportunity for this, as it is structured but also a lot of fun.
- Parents and other adults should support their children in taking part in these positive activities as much as they can. They should also have open and honest conversations with their teens.
- Children should be encouraged to do what they love and enjoy their lives. They will have an entire adult lifetime of coping with pressure and responsibilities. Now is the time to be young and to have fun, albeit in a safe environment.
- Families should instill strong rules and expectations about drug and alcohol use, and those should apply to the adults as well.
- Educational outreach should be provided to young people about drugs and alcohol. This should go beyond simply telling kids that drugs are bad, as they already know this. It is about making sure that they truly understand the impact of drug abuse on their life, their health, and their happiness.
- Children should be surrounded by positive role models who set good examples. This is why Gonzalez is so supportive of the Who’s Next Boxing Academy, where young people get to train with those who have been there, as well as with peers who are still learning and developing.
- Children should be encouraged to plan ahead, which goes back to having open and honest communication. They are likely to go to events where drugs and alcohol will be present and they should have coping strategies in place for those situations.
- Children should be empowered to take control by encouraging them to speak up and speak out. They are responsible for their own health and happiness and that is a very powerful thing.
- Kids should be given help rather than being abandoned if things do go wrong.