SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence

Harper. Apr. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780062883780. $26.99. CHILD REARING
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“The branches of my family tree hang heavy with substance abuse disorder,” says Lahey, a recovering alcoholic. “Taking a nap” was a euphemism for passing out, and sharing concern about a relative’s drinking or pill use would lead to punishment during her tumultuous childhood. As a teacher in substance abuse programs, Lahey desired to help her own children and others like them end the legacy of addiction. Since children’s brains are cognitively and functionally different from adults, they will respond differently to alcohol. The younger kids are when they start using, the more likely they are to develop substance disorders as an adult, so Lahey asserts it is essential to address issues related to dependence at a young age. Adolescents are biologically wired to seek out novelty and risk, and Lahey provides ways to capitalize on that reality in a positive direction. Talking openly about family risk and banishing secrets and shame are some of the tools in the author’s arsenal for fighting addiction.
VERDICT This book combines expertise with humble personal experience to show how modeling, believing in our children, and valuing learning instead of accolades will go a long way toward preventing addiction.

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