The CDC reports that drug overdose deaths in the United States were four times more common in 2018 than they were just twenty years earlier. The CDC also reports that drug overdose deaths increased by thirty percent during the pandemic. While there are many reasons a person turns to drugs and alcohol, one strategy we can employ to counter substance abuse and addiction is to encourage our kids involvement with a peer group that doesn’t support drug and alcohol use. Substance abuse is strongly related to what a person’s friends do. When it’s always in your face, the temptation is huge. The Search Institute has concluded that parents can undermine the negative influence of friends both by steering kids away from certain associations, and toward other relationships where the influence is known to be positive. Parents, this is simple common sense. Positive relationships include a church youth group, and connections with older mentors in your church.