Don’t Delay Discussing Drugs with Your Kids

Back in September, Rochester Media posted an article on how Oakland County was taking steps to raise awareness about youth prescription drug abuse.

Pennsylvania-based Steps to Recovery, an addiction treatment center, saw the article and reached out to us; asking if they could share their perspective with our readers as a way to continue the conversation and hopefully educate families further about how to protect their teenagers from drug use. Their article appears below:

Many parents do not realize how common drug abuse is among children and teens, and as a result they may not raise the issue with their kids. However, as an article by Steps to Recovery highlights, substance misuse in teens and even younger children is highly prevalent, and can have a devastating impact on young people. For instance, just two of the statistics from their report reveal that 6.5% of twelfth grade students take marijuana daily and more than 8% of kids had tried the drug before their thirteenth birthday. The impact that drug taking can have on a youngster’s physical and mental health is significant, particularly as their developing brains are more vulnerable to the effects of addictive substances.

Drug abuse can also take its toll on academic performance and schools are taking an active role in educating young people about the dangers of substance misuse. Programs rolled out during elementary and middle school are most effective, as they target kids before they have even been tempted to try drugs, and the article by Steps to Recovery discusses the success of the “Keepin’ it REAL” program and “Life Skills Training Program.” However, the fact that drug education is on the school curriculum is no substitute for having conversations with your own children about making good choices if offered drugs.

It is essential that you are well-informed with the facts before you do so, but the key is to start talking early to your kids about drugs. Basic education on this subject can begin before they start school by explaining the dangers of chemicals around the home and medications, and giving them the chance to start making decisions through play. Once at school you can start to discuss drugs, their consequences and the fact they are addictive, introducing more information appropriate to your child’s age. Role playing is helpful before your kids go to middle school to help them practice saying “no” to drugs, but you should continue to have conversations with them throughout their time at middle and high school. Even when you talk to your teen regularly about substance abuse, it is still important to familiarize yourself with the signs of this so that you can raise your concerns if necessary.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and onlineā€¦ all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at

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