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Talking to Children About Opioid Addiction

It’s important to talk to your children about things – any parent can testify to that. But how? One of the hardest things to talk about is addiction. However, children are just as affected by addiction as adults. The opioid health crisis has boomed within the last couple of years, and it has become increasingly important to inform the younger generation of the dangers of an opioid addiction. With teenage deaths spiking in 2015 from overdoses and increasing ever since, it would be wrong to think that children aren’t being affected (Huffington Post).

Because of how influential drugs can be at such a young age, speaking with children about what opioids can actually do to their bodies is crucial. Prevention is key; By educating them on the dangers of drugs, we may be able to save them in the long run. Growing up, children are still learning how to behave and think. The use of drugs can alter the learning process and stunt growth. As parents, setting the groundwork for being able to talk openly with your children on certain topics is a great idea. This way, they won’t feel that they need to hide things from you or go behind your back to do things.

If you’re nervous to talk to your children about addictions, don’t worry! There are plenty of sites that can “walk” you through the conversation. Some of our favorites are Drug Abuse, The Moyer Foundation, and Kids Health. Referencing these sites can not only help you talk to your child, but also give you more information on the epidemic itself. Your children will be approached eventually with drugs or alcohol, and their background and knowledge of these things will help them make better life decisions.

An important take-away from this article, is that we think being open to your kids about opioids is one of the best things you can do. Be truthful. When your toddler asks to take a “pill” when you do in the mornings, explain what the pill does, and why it’s important only grown-ups take them (in terms they might understand, of course). When your middle schooler continues to ask for cold/flu medicine after he gets over his cold, explain that medicine only works whenever you’re sick. Never be afraid to talk to your children about addictions, because by the time you think they’re “old enough” to talk about it, they’ve probably already been exposed to it.

 

Resources

https://www.drugabuse.gov/parents-educators

https://moyerfoundation.org/resources/listening-and-talking-with-kids-about-addiction/

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/talk-about-drugs.html

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