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Talking with kids about drugs

Do not put off talking with your children about alcohol & drugs. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, kids as early as the fourth grade worry about pressured to try drugs. School programs are not enough to deter kids from drugs. Parents must become actively involved, but most parents aren’t sure how to talk to their children about drugs.

Open communication is the most effective tool you can use in helping your child avoid drug use. Talking freely & really listening shown children that they mean a great deal to you.


  • Tell them that you love them and want them to be healthy & happy.
  • Say that you do not find alcohol & drugs acceptable. Many parents never state this simple principle.
  • Explain how this use hurts people. Physical Harm - AIDS, slowed growth, impaired coordination, & accidents. Emotional Harm - difficulty in remembering & paying attention.
  • Discuss the legal issues. A conviction for a drug offense can lead to prison, and cost or prevent someone from obtaining a job, driver’s license or college loan.
  • Talk about positive drug - free alternatives, and how you can explore them together, such as, sports, reading, movies, bike rides, hikes, camping, cooking, games, concerts, etc. Involve your children’s friends too.

How do i say it ?

  • Calmly & openly, Don’t exaggerate. The facts speak for themselves.
  • Face to face. Talk & try to understand each other’s point of view. Be an active listener, and let your child talk about fears & concerns. Do not preach.
  • Use “teachable moments” - TV news, TV dramas, books, newspapers.
  • Establish a conversation rather than a one time speech.
  • Set the example. Avoid contradictions in words & actions. Don’t use drugs yourself.
  • Act out scenes where you try to pressure someone to use drugs. Discuss ways to handle the situations, & talk about which ways work the best.
  • Exchange ideas with other parents.

How can i tell if a child is using drugs ?

  • Changes in moods - more irritable, secretive, withdrawn, overly sensitive, inappropriately angry, euphoric.
  • Less responsible - late coming home, late for school or class, dishonesty.
  • Changing friends or lifestyles - new interests, unexplained cash.
  • Physical deterioration - difficulty in concentration, loss of coordination, loss of weight, unhealthy appearance.

Why do kids use drugs ?

  • To do what their friends are doing.
  • To escape pain in their lives.
  • To fit in.
  • Boredom.
  • For fun.
  • Curiosity.
  • To take risks.

Take a stand !

  • Educate yourself about the facts surrounding drugs & alcohol use. You will lose credibility with your kids if your information is not correct.
  • Establish clear family rules against drug use and enforce them consistently.
  • Develop your parenting skills through seminars, networking with other parents, reading, counseling, and support groups.
  • Work with other parents to set community standards - you don’t raise a child alone.
  • Volunteer at schools, youth centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, or other community activities.

For more information !

  • State & local government drug use: prevention, intervention, & treatment agencies.
  • State & local Law Enforcement Agencies.
  • Private drug use treatment facilities & services listed in the phone book.

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information. (NCADI) 
PO Box 2345
Rockville, MD. 20847-2345
FAX 1-301-468-6433