August 8, 2019
How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs

How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs

The constant stream of opioid overdose deaths in Ohio is prompting many parents to sit down with their children and discuss the harms of drug abuse. While a great deal of information exists as to why parents should talk about opioid misuse – kids are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs when their parents talk to them – there is less information out there on how to actually do it.

The reality is when parents maintain an open line of communication with their children, and actively listen to them, kids are more likely to discuss the challenges they face. When it comes to opioid misuse prevention, parents need to be proactive and calm in their efforts. Experts recommend several strategies that parents can take when speaking to children about opioid misuse. Below are some ways you can begin the conversation:

  • Talk to your kids about the dangers of medication from an early age. Your child doesn’t have to be in high school to understand that medication can be dangerous if it is not used correctly. These conversations can begin as early as preschool. Explain to your child that vitamins are good for your health but that they can be harmful if too many are taken at once.
  • Discuss what is appropriate and inappropriate regarding the use of prescription drugs. Tell your children that they should never take medicine or share medicine with someone that it has not been prescribed for. It’s not just a bad idea, it’s actually illegal to share prescriptions.
  • Ask your children what they know about drugs. Are they hearing about drugs in the music they listen to or on TV shows they watch? What are their peers saying about drugs? It’s important to ask open-ended questions to promote an open dialogue.
  • Be honest with your kids about why some people use drugs. While drugs make you feel good temporarily, they can significantly damage your body in the long run. If you have a history of drug abuse that you want to discuss, be open but don’t overshare the details.
  • Promote a dialogue – don’t lecture your kids. Otherwise, they will lose interest and you will lose your credibility very quickly.
  • You can mention addiction genes. If addiction runs in your family your children should know about it.
  • Ask your child what questions they have for you.

Opioid abuse prevention starts with parents. Talking to your kids about drug addiction is an important first step, but your actions will always speak louder than words. For more information on how to talk to your kids about opioid abuse, follow the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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