Risk factors help explain circumstances that may increase the likelihood of problem or unhealthy behaviors.
Some signs of risk can be seen as early as infancy or early childhood, such as aggressive behavior, lack of self-control, or difficult temperament. As the child gets older, interactions with family, at school, and within the community can affect that child’s risk for later drug abuse.
Children’s earliest interactions occur in the family; sometimes family situations heighten a child’s risk for later drug abuse, for example, when there is:
Interactions outside the family can involve risks for both children and adolescents, such as:
Association with drug-abusing peers is often the most immediate risk for exposing adolescents to drug abuse and delinquent behavior.
Other factors—such as drug availability, trafficking patterns, and beliefs that drug abuse is generally tolerated—are risks that can influence young people to start abusing drugs.
Protective factors, or assets, can help increase resiliency to problem behaviors such as drug abuse or gang involvement and are believed to buffer youth from risk.
Some protective factors or assets are:
See more about The 40 Developmental Assets
The Fairfax County Youth Survey shows that what Parents think matters!
Families can provide protection from later drug abuse when there is:
Note: Information above was taken from Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services, Risk and Protective Factors fact sheets (2013-2014) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publication, “Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents”
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The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County (UPC) and this website are partially funded by a Virginia Strategic Prevention Framework - State Incentive Grant (SPF-SIG) and a federal SAMHSA Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking grant (STOP). UPC is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with more than 60 partners and members from the community