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7 Ways to Begin the Opioid Conversation with Kids

black and white background of pills. "7 ways to begin the opioid conversation with kids"
Ohioans deserve great credit for how we’ve come together to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections, but we must also be mindful of the consequences of the behaviors we are adopting to keep our communities and families safe. Social distancing is necessary, but personal isolation poses mental health challenges. The increased use of prescription pills and surge in liquor sales we’ve witnessed over the past couple months are all too telling.

As the nation and Ohio fight two health crises, one of which is only exacerbated by the other, it’s time to talk to your children about the dangers of opioid misuse and how to safely secure or dispose of your prescription medications.

 
 
Below are some ways you can begin the conversation:

1. Talk to your kids about the dangers of medication. Your child doesn’t have to be in high school to understand that medication can be dangerous if it is not used correctly. These conversations can begin as early as preschool. Explain to your child that vitamins are good for your health but that they can be harmful if too many are taken at once.

2. Discuss what is appropriate and inappropriate regarding the use of prescription drugs. Tell your children that they should never take medicine or share medicine with someone to which it has not been prescribed. It’s not just a bad idea, it’s actually illegal to share prescriptions.

3. Ask your children what they know about drugs. Are they hearing about drugs in the music they listen to or on TV shows they watch? What are their peers saying about drugs? It’s important to ask open-ended questions to promote an open dialogue.

4. Be honest with your kids about why some people use drugs. While drugs make you feel good temporarily, they can significantly damage your body in the long run. If you have a history of drug abuse that you want to discuss, be open but don’t overshare the details.

5. Promote a dialogue – don’t lecture your kids. Otherwise, they will lose interest and you will lose your credibility very quickly.

6. You can mention addiction genes. If addiction runs in your family, your children should know about it.

7. Ask your child what questions they have for you.

For more information on how to talk to your kids about opioid abuse, visit dontliveindenial.org.

About the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance

The Ohio Opioid Education Alliance is a coalition of business, education, nonprofit, civic and government organizations formed by the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County to educate and prevent young Ohioans from misusing and abusing opioids. 
 

The ESC of Central Ohio is a proud partner of the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance. If you have questions regarding the alliance, visit dontliveindenial.org. If you need extra support in your school or district regarding staff and student mental health, contact our Specialized On-Site Support Team. If you need immediate help with addiction, go here.