Four Traits that Increase the Risk of Youth Substance Abuse

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Substance abuse has been an issue within our society for decades. Due to this, the issues of substance abuse have begun to affect individuals earlier in life. Youth substance abuse has become an increased issue today. A recent article by New York Times discussed new research that is driving to develop prevention programs to help youth substance abuse.

New Research is Developing Preventative Program

The program is called Preventure. It was developed by Patricia Conrod, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal. The program recognizes how a child’s temperament drives his or her risk of youth substance abuse. Early trials show that personality testing can identify 90 percent of the highest risk children, targeting risky traits before they cause problems.

Many people would assume that the youth who try substances early on are at the most risk for developing youth substance abuse problems. This is not the case, many of the traits that put kids at the highest risk aren’t what many people would expect. The Preventure’s personality testing programs dive deep into the roots of what causes youths substance issues.

The Four Traits

They focus on four risky traits: sensation-seeking, impulsiveness, anxiety sensitivity and hopelessness. Most at-risk kids can be spotted early. Three of the four personality traits identified by Preventure are linked to mental health issues, which are a critical risk factor for youth substance abuse.

Preventure starts with an intensive two-to-three-day training period for teachers, who are given lessons on therapy techniques shown to fight psychological problems. The idea is to prevent youth with outlying personalities from becoming fully consumed by a mental health issue or youth substance abuse. Only youth with high scores are suggested to attend.

These researchers are on the right path to beginning to create an effective opportunity to help youth struggling with substance abuse. While it is still being tested, there are other options for families in need of help. If you or your child are dealing with youth substance abuse, there are programs available that can help.

Trails Carolina Can Help


Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral challenges.

For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 today.


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