Drugs are an incredibly prominent part of society today. You only have to look at the opioid crisis that’s going on across the world to see that. It’s become a worldwide problem and at the heart of it are young people.

In the USA alone, over an 18 month period over 2,200 adolescents died of an overdose as a result of opioids, while almost 40% of teenagers aged 15 have taken drugs. Which makes talking about them incredibly important.

There are many conversations we need to have with our teenagers, so don’t let drugs be the one you skip, thinking your child will never get involved with them, otherwise it could be conversations about what drug rehab to consider, never mind university or college.

Here are five things about drugs you should discuss…

The Risks and Consequences

Naturally, you’re going to start with the risks and consequences. It’s so important to educate your loved ones on both the short term and long term effects, from the likes of impaired judgement and mood swings to the likes of addiction, health problems and the legal trouble that could come alongside carrying and taking drugs. By understanding this, your teenager can make a much more informed choice when it comes to being faced with the temptation of experimenting with drugs.

Peer Pressure and Saying No

Peer pressure is such a big part of a teenagers life, not just with drugs but with the likes of alcohol, sex and other behaviours. It’s important to equip your teenagers with the strategies to say no in a confident manner. Encourage your teen to be assertive with their decision making and surround themselves with friends that support their decision and are less likely to put pressure on them.

It may be that you even want to practice this with role play, aiding them in navigating certain situations that may arise.

Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Stress, anxiety and other emotions may well be the reason a teen turns to drugs. It can be a stressful period of someone’s life, particularly when there’s the likes of exams, relationships and social media pressures to be thinking about.

As part of conversations about substances, discuss and teach them healthier coping mechanisms and ensure they are aware about the importance of communication when they are struggling. Make sure they know you are there for them during difficult times and can provide them with the support they need, whether that be through professional help or taking them out to do the things they love.

The Importance of Responsible Decision-Making

A good thing to do is to put the responsibility and onus on them for their choices. Discuss the concept of informed decision-making and encourage them to consider the potential outcomes of their actions before making choices about drugs.

Discuss how it’s important to set boundaries, respect yourself and make decisions that align with their own values and goals, not that of other people’s. This can really empower them to make sensible decisions about drug taking.

The Role of Education and Awareness

Finally, don’t just educate them yourself, encourage them to seek out information themselves. By doing the reading they will be more engaged with the subject matter and as a result be more likely to take on board the importance of being responsible around drugs.

Encourage critical thinking and skepticism towards misinformation and peer pressure, or anyone that tries to glamorise drug taking. There are actually some very good documentaries and dramas around drug taking at present, particularly around the opioid crisis, such as Painkiller and Dope.


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