Talk, Connect and Prevent: A Parents Guide to Addressing Drug use

Talk, Connect and Prevent: A Parents Guide to Addressing Drug use

New Jersey YMCA State Alliance


Today the acceleration of drug use to drug addiction can be quick and intense. The numbers are staggering.

*Kids who use drugs regularly may graduate to drug abuse and addiction. In fact, heroin use more than doubled among young adults ages 18-25 in the past decade.

*Prescribed opioid use before high school graduation is independently associated with a 33% increases in the risk of future opioid misuse after high school, especially among individuals who have little to no history of drug use.

*Repeated drug exposure changes a person’s brain. Relapse is possible even after undergoing rehabilitation treatment.

*In New Jersey, there has been a 214% increase in deaths due to heroin/morphine since 2010.

*Nearly 80% of Americans using heroin reported misusing prescription opioids first.

*1 in 4 teens report having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime.

*More than a quarter of teens (27%) mistakenly believe that misusing and abusing prescription drugs is safer than using street drugs.



*Take time to listen to your kids. Find time to be with your child when he/she asks to talk to you. Devote your attention to what your child is saying.

*Ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation.

*Try not to interrupt your children when they are talking and summarize what they are saying to let them know they’ve been heard.


*Make a habit of talking to your kids every day-family dinner is a great place to start.

*Start the conversation-find your own words to raise important topics and find times and places that are comfortable for you to talk, like in the car or on walks or during meals.

*Use events and circumstances in the media and daily life as opportunities to begin conversations.

*Praise and reward your children for their unique qualities as often as you can.


*Research shows that young people are less likely to use drugs if their parents set clear rules.

*Tell your children very clearly that you don’t want them using alcohol or illegal drugs or misusing prescription drugs.

*Monitor your child’s activities and get to know his/her friends and their parents.

*Establish expectations and family rules that provide parameters for children.


*Empower your kids and provide guidance to create an action plan that addresses risky situations.

*Safeguard your children from easy access to prescribed medications by taking the American Medicine Chest Challenge at

*Kids need their own language to help them stay away from drugs-help them develop their own vocabulary.


*Experts agree that it is best to be honest about your own experimentation with drugs so as not to lose credibility with your child. You may decide that the time is not right to discuss the topic. Provide an appropriate answer based on your child’s level of maturity.

*Question about your past drug use can be a signal that your child is curious, has been exposed to or has tried a substance. Use the question as an opportunity to find out what your child knows about drugs.


Be aware of signs that may indicate drug use, including:

*Risky behavior

*Slipping grades, lateness, skipping class

*Fights with family/friends

*Change in friends

*Change in mood or eating or sleeping patterns

*Depressed/less motivation

*Missing prescription or over the counter medication

*Missing money/valuables

*Trouble with the law

*Increased candle, incense or air freshener use

*Secretive, deceptive or manipulative behavior

*Neglecting appearance or hygiene

*Sudden change in weight

*Slurred speech

*Skin abrasion

*Chemical smell on breath or clothing

*Glassy or red eyes

*Drug paraphernalia


It is important to be aware of potential risk and protective factors. Risk factors may contribute to your child experimenting with alcohol or drugs. Conversely, protective factors contribute to your child’s ability to resist alcohol and drugs.

Risk Factors:

*History of addiction in the family

*Poor parental monitoring

*Mental or behavioral problems


Protective Factors:

*A healthy self-concept

*Good parental monitoring

*Strong attachment to school

*Healthy relationships with friends and family


*If you suspect that your child is using alcohol or other drugs, take appropriate action

*Have a conversation with your child, recognizing that you may not get honest answers

*Reach out to individuals in your community who can offer help and advice:

-Student Counselor

-Family Physician

-Local Prevention Specialists

-Religious Institution

-Employee Assistance Program

The challenge of speaking to children about alcohol and drugs is often daunting for parents. How to start the conversation? How often to talk? What’s the right language? What’s the best message? Yet, one of the most effective preventative measures is for parents to have conversations with their children about the dangers of alcohol and drug use-and starting at an early age.

For this reason, New Jersey YMCA State Alliance, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey have partnered to create this guide to support parents’ efforts to raise healthy, confident and connected kids who are empowered to make healthy choices that include avoiding the use of alcohol and drugs.

Resources for parents:

*Community in Crisis:

*Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services:

*Dr. Oz, Night of Conversation:

*Drug Identification Guide:

*Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse:

*Knock Out Opioid Abuse: Join the Conversation:

*National Institute of Drug Abuse:

*New Jersey Preventative Network:

*NJ Connect for Recovery: (P) 855-652-3737, hearing impaired (P) 877-294-4356

*Parents. The Anti-Drug:

*State of New Jersey: Know Addiction NJ:

*Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services:

*Partnership for Drug-Free Kids:

*Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey: (P) 973-467-2100/

Tip content is courtesy of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey

New Jersey YMCA State Alliance


Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and I give them full credit for the information. Please call or email the above numbers for more information on the program.





About jwatrel

I am a free-lance writer and Blogger. I am the author of the book "Firehouse 101" ( 2005) part of trilogy of books centered in New York City. My next book "Love Triangles" is finished being edited and should be ready for release in the Fall. My latest book, "Dinner at Midnight", a thriller is on its last chapter. My long awaited book explains the loss of the 2004 Yankee game to Boston. I work as a Consultant, Adjunct College Professor, Volunteer Fireman and Ambulance member and Blogger. I have a blog site for caregivers called 'bergencountycaregiver', a step by step survival guide to all you wonderful folks taking care of your loved ones, a walking project to walk every block, both sides, of the island of Manhattan "MywalkinManhattan" and discuss what I see and find on the streets of New York and three sites to accompany it. One is an arts site called "Visiting a Museum", where I showcase small museums, historical sites and parks that are off the beaten track both in Manhattan and outside the city to cross reference with "MywalkinManhattan" blog site. Another is "DiningonaShoeStringNYC", featuring small restaurants I have found on my travels in this project, that offer wonderful meals for $10.00 and under. So be on the lookout for updates on all three sites and enjoy 'MywalkinManhattan'. The third is my latest site, "LittleShoponMainStreet", which showcases all the unique and independent shops that I have found on my travels throughout and around Manhattan. I have started two new blog sites for the fire department, one "EngineOneHasbrouck HeightsFireDepartmentnj" for the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department to discuss what our Engine Company is doing and the other is "BergenCountyFireman'sHomeAssociation" for the Bergen County Fireman's Association, which fire fighters from Bergen County, NJ, go to the Fireman's Home in Boonton, NJ to bring entertainment and cheer to our fellow brother fire fighters quarterly.
This entry was posted in Bergen County NJ Programs, Child Program Services, Drug and Alcohol Abuse Programs, Drug Assistance Programming, Health and Life Support Services, New Jersey Children's Programs, Senior Services, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Talk, Connect and Prevent: A Parents Guide to Addressing Drug use

  1. jwatrel says:

    Please call or email the above numbers for more information.

    Liked by 1 person

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