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Do you know a young person who seemed to have it all but still developed adolescent problem behaviors? Do you know a young person who was exposed to high levels of risk and despite that did not develop problem behaviors?


Think back to your own years growing up. Who were the key people who influenced you most in your childhood years? Who helped you become who you are today?


Dr. Hawkins and Dr. Catalano’s research indicated that:

  • the age of first use is a huge factor in addiction,

  • 90% of all substance use disorders begin between age 12 and age 20, and

  • the earlier a child tries and starts using alcohol and or drugs the greater the chance of addiction.


We want to delay the age of first use as long as possible.


In addition to early use being linked to addiction, brain research tells us that the prefrontal lobe is not fully developed until the early twenties. One of many functions of the prefrontal lobe is that it helps people set and achieve goals.


Setting and achieving goals are important developmental steps in pre-teen, teen and young adult development.


  1. Identify a person or people from your childhood who had a positive impact on your growth and development. 

  2. List 3 traits or 3 things that they did that made you feel cared for and positive about yourself. 

  3. When were you first introduced to alcohol and drugs? What do you remember about that experience? How did the encounter make you feel? 

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