Drug Abuse Prevention Starts With Parents

Although children this age are unlikely to be using illicit drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, exposure could be occurring at home. This brochure highlights the connection between parent behavior and attitudes, media influences, parent/child communication, and teens' subsequent use or abuse of drugs and alcohol. Because families may have a prior history of drug use or know a friend or relative with an alcohol or drug problem, this can be a very sensitive topic to discuss. Many parents may feel uncertain about how to deliver straightforward anti-drug messages to their children. The prominent themes of this brochure are as follows:

  • Parental role modeling
  • Maintaining open communication about alcohol, drugs, and other topics
The brochure describes ways that parents can provide more opportunities to talk with their children. For example, parents can discuss situations involving alcohol and drugs in popular movies and TV, which can be an easy and natural opening to talk about these difficult issues.

How to Use This Tool

  • For parents who are smokers, you may ask, "Have you ever tried to quit?" and "How old were you when you started?" These questions begin the discussion of how easy it is to start smoking cigarettes and how difficult it is to stop.
  • If the clinician suspects a more serious substance abuse problem in the family, it may be appropriate to discuss this while the child is out of the room. Vision and hearing screens provide a natural opportunity to talk with parents in private.
Helpful Hints

  • Ask whether the child's school has a program about alcohol and drug prevention. Discuss the child's favorite movie and whether there is any drug use in the movie.
  • News reports about drug abuse problems among famous athletes and performers are natural opportunities to begin this discussion.

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