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Keeping Hispanic Youth Drug-Free

Surveys show that one in ten Hispanic youth in the United States reports using drugs in the past month, and among 8th graders, Hispanics tend to have the highest past-year usage rates of most illicit drugs including marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

With one in three Hispanics being under the age of 18, efforts to keep Hispanic youth drug-free are all the more important. Parents might be surprised to learn that they are the most important influence in keeping kids drug-free. Two-thirds of Hispanic teens see great risk of upsetting their parents or losing the respect of family and friends if they smoke marijuana.

Parents need to know that marijuana is a serious drug with serious consequences for teens. Research shows that youth marijuana use can lead to a host of troubling health, social, learning and behavioral problems at a crucial time in young lives. Marijuana can be addictive, and more teens are in drug treatment for marijuana than for all other illicit drugs combined.

The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has developed a new FREE bilingual booklet Proteja a sus hijos de las drogas: Una guía para los padres/Keeping Your Kids Drug-Free: A How-To Guide for Parents and Caregivers to help Hispanic parents raise drug-free teens. The booklet provides parents with information about the risks of marijuana and other drugs and provides specific ideas, conversation starters and examples of the monitoring skills busy parents can use to prevent teen drug use.

Parents can also learn more about how to keep their kids drug-free at the Spanish-language website The site provides expert advice for parents, information about marijuana and other drugs, news articles, and links to other resources on parenting and drugs. Visitors to can sign up to receive regular e-mails with parenting tips, advice, and drug information delivered straight to their inboxes. 

The good news is that parents can help keep their kids drug-free by asking questions, staying involved, knowing how their teens are spending their time, who their friends are, and keeping them busy in adult-supervised activities. Parents should also talk to their kids about the risks of using marijuana and other drugs.

Free copies of the new booklet can be ordered by calling the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, 1-800-788-2800 (ask for document number PHD1036,) or through  A toll-free number, 1-877-SIN-DROGAS, provides assistance in Spanish.

Content provided with permission from The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.

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This content was last modified on: 06/27/2008

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