How can I prepare my teen with diabetes to deal with alcohol and drugs?

Mr. Eliot LeBow, CDE, LCSW
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

According to Eliot LeBow, a psychotherapist who specializes in diabetes, honest, open communication is key when discussing alcohol and drugs with teens with diabetes. Watch this video to learn how these substances affect people with diabetes and why it's important to be aware of the potential consequences of risky behavior.

Here are some tips to help you and your child be prepared for situations where she's offered alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. These tips should also be helpful as your child transitions into adulthood when it becomes legal to drink (age 21) or is frequently around others who do (i.e., at college):

  • Ask your diabetes team (D-team) to discuss the affects of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs on diabetes with your teen.
  • Ask your teen about their conversation with the D-team. Be sure they understand what happens when a person with diabetes drinks alcohol, or uses tobacco or drugs.
  • Discuss peer pressure. Share ways you handled these kinds of issues as a teen.
  • Listen closely and try not to sound like you're nagging.
  • Remind your teen to always have her diabetes supplies (D-supplies) and wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.