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How To Talk To Your Children About Drugs

Research shows that children who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are far less likely to use them. Here's how to get the conversation started.


  • Step 1: Be honest. If they ask if you've ever done drugs, admit any use, but don't elaborate. Make the point that, even though you survived your drug experimentation, you know now that drug use can have tragic consequences, and that's what you want them to understand.
  • Step 2: Keep the conversation going. The anti-drug talk is not a one-off event; it should be an ongoing dialogue.
  • FACT: A study found that half of teens who go to parties say alcohol or drugs are available, but 80 percent of parents believe their teens attend substance-free parties.
  • Step 3: Be prepared for any questions your children may have about drugs. If they ask something you can't answer, tell them you'll find out.
  • Step 4: Emphasize how disappointed you'd be if you found out they were experimenting with drugs. Two out of three of teens say that not wanting to upset their parents is one of the main reasons they don't use drugs.
  • TIP: Warn children specifically that using Inhalants -- even once -- can cause brain damage or death.
  • Step 5: Be straightforward and specific. Tell them you don't want them doing drugs. Period.
  • Step 6: Spell out the dangers associated with drug use. Teens who learn a lot about drug risks from their parents are less likely to try them than those who say they've received no information from mom and dad.
  • Step 7: Start talking to your children about drugs when they're about eight years old. Use news stories and anti-drug TV spots to jumpstart a discussion.

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