Talking to Children About Drug Prevention

Drug addiction does not discriminate; it affects people of all ages, races, genders, nationalities, professions, and socioeconomic classes. It is never too early to start talking to your children about the dangers of drug use and how they can make healthier choices in their life. October 23-31 is Red Ribbon Week and an excellent time to start the conversation if you haven’t already. Find out what your children already know about drugs and alcohol, and talk about how substance use disorder treatment helps people to get back on their feet and overcome addiction.

Keep in mind that talking about addiction should not be a “once and done” conversation – it is something that should be ongoing throughout children’s lives. Use teachable moments such as television shows, movies, advertisements, and things you see in the community to stimulate discussion.

An Open and Frank Discussion

Talk to your children regularly about the risks involved with substance use and how they can make healthier decisions. For instance, even though a doctor may prescribe medication following injury or surgery, opiate addiction is a real risk that exists. Teach children to only take medications as prescribed and never to use anyone else’s medications or take anything without talking to a parent first.

Encourage open discussion with kids so they feel comfortable asking difficult questions and sharing their concerns. Maybe they’ve seen ads for drug addiction treatment programs and want to know what it is. Find out what they already know, what they may be confused or misinformed about, and where there are gaps. Talk about how to deal with peer pressure in effective ways and how to say to no offers for drug or alcohol use.

Getting Involved

One way to help children steer clear of drugs and alcohol is get them involved in activities that promote physical and mental health, boost self-esteem, and surround them with positive role models. Whether you’re signing your child up for classes at the Y, clubs at school, community organizations, or sports teams, it can pay off. Also, talk about how substance use can derail their efforts. Not only can they be suspended from or kicked off of teams, it can impact their health making it harder to do what they love. Drug addiction centers encourage those in recovery to find activities they enjoy to help reduce risk of relapse.

Standing by Role Models

Building a strong support network is not just for those in addiction recovery; children can benefit too. Help your child to identify people who are a positive influence in their life and who they can talk to when they’re having a hard time. It could be a teacher, coach, religious leader, mentor, family friend, or someone else they look up to and trust.  You could also turn to individuals you know who have completed drug addiction programs and can talk to your kids about drug prevention as well as recovery.

Get the Family Involved

Make sure you are discussing the effects of drug misuse on the family as well. Children can be affected more than parents realize sometimes. There can be a lot of psychological ramifications to growing up in a family impacted by addiction, and there can be physical effects as well. Fortunately, there are support groups available for people of all ages as well as therapy and counseling to help deal with the challenges of substance use disorders.

If someone in your family is struggling with addiction, find drug addiction centers near you that can provide the treatment your loved one needs for recovery. Through drug addiction treatment, Maine residents can address their substance use and set a positive example for family and friends showing them that recovery is possible. Children can see that they value their health and well-being and are not afraid to speak up and ask for help.

Crossroads provides gender-responsive treatment programs to meet the unique needs of women and men facing addiction. Reach out for help today and show that when it comes to addiction recovery, Maine offers outstanding resources and support. Crossroads can help you to remember who you wanted to be and arm yourself with the knowledge to talk to your children about drug prevention and addiction recovery.