According to national statistics, children whose parents talk with them regularly about drug use are 42% less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don’t talk with them about drug use. However, only about 25% of teens report having drug use conversations with their parents.
Since 1985, the importance of having drug use conversations with children and youth has been strongly encouraged by the National Family Partnership, most obviously through their sponsorship of National Red Ribbon Week. Our Pittsfield students will be commemorating Red Ribbon Week this week, so this is an ideal time for parents to have a conversation about drug use.
This year’s Red Ribbon Week theme is Life is your journey. Travel drug free. Parents who would like some ideas about having drug use conversations are encouraged to take a look at the resources available from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire on the organization’s website: drugfreenh.org.
Parents might also consider taking the National Red Ribbon Campaign Pledge on that organization’s website: redribbon.org. The pledge includes five elements:
1. As parents and citizens, we will talk to our children and the children in our lives about the dangers of drug abuse.
2. We will set clear rules for our children about not using drugs.
3. We will set a good example for our children by not using illegal drugs or medicine without a prescription.
4. We will monitor our children’s behavior and enforce appropriate consequences, so that our rules are respected.
5. We will encourage family and friends to follow the same guidelines to keep children safe from substance abuse.
Here’s a chance to increase the odds that your child or youth will be less likely to use drugs – 42% less likely – by having that critically important conversation this week.