Back to School is the Time to Talk about Opioids

As summer winds down and families get ready for back-to-school, many kids will start to feel the stress of the new school year. And as they get older, those children could begin to be introduced to ways to deal with that stress: notably, drugs and alcohol. Opioids are a part of that mix – a part of that experimentation – as nearly 4 percent of adolescents 12-17 years old report misusing opioids in the past year. More worrisome is the fact that nearly half of all overdose deaths among adolescents in 2015 came from opioids.

Fortunately, it’s also clear that talking to kids about drugs can reduce their risk of use by up to 50%.

So what to do next? Talk to your kids.

  • Start talking to kids early. It’s OK if they aren’t adolescents, conversations can begin as early as preschool.
  • Ask them what they know. Do they learn about drugs at school or from friends? Rumors? Ask open-ended questions and ask them if they have questions for you for an open dialogue.
  • Be honest. Don’t be coy about the reasons why some people use drugs, how damaging they can be and answer their questions openly, without oversharing.
  • Don’t lecture. Kids will be more engaged in conversations, not educational lectures, on why drugs are so bad.

As school starts again, new stresses and new opportunities arise for kids to experiment with opioids and other drugs. But parents and caregivers have a powerful tool – regular conversations with your kids are one of the best ways to prevent drug use.

For more tips on how to talk with your kids, follow the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs
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