A recent study about homeless youth in America found an alarming statistic: about 80 percent who are aged 12-21 use drugs or alcohol. Many of these are runaways who are unable or unwilling to return home, or who no longer have homes to return to. Drugs and alcohol become a way to self-medicate, to help cope with the traumatic experiences and potential abuse they face each day.
These youths may feel they have no place to turn and no real way out. Worse yet, they may have become so submerged in their dangerous world that it seems like the best and only option, and they may have stopped even wanting to create a new life. Though loved ones may want to help them find the support they need to get away from drugs, off the streets, and back on their feet, it can be difficult to know where to start.
This guide is for anyone hoping to lend a helping hand to a runaway who has succumb to drug abuse. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, counselor, friend, or even just a concerned citizen, there are ways for you to make a difference. Remember that even if you aren’t immediately successful in getting someone the help they need, it never hurts to let them know you love them and care about their well-being; sometimes you just have to know the best way to make that clear.
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