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How to Talk to Your Child About Opioid Abuse

Ember Conley shares her advice for talking with your kids about opioid abuse.

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While many people do become addicted to opioids as the result of trying to manage real physical pain, younger adults and teens often build up to opioid addiction. Teens, in particular, begin using other illegal drugs and, as they build up tolerances to those drugs, they start taking opioid-based narcotics. This cycle ultimately leads to severe addiction, so it’s important to talk to your children about these dangers as early as possible.

Explain the Proper Use of Drugs

Growing up, your children have undoubtedly seen you, or someone else, taking prescription medication, so you should repeatedly explain that prescribed medication is intended to treat a disease or injury. Be sure to point out that sharing prescription drugs, or taking someone else’s medication, is both illegal and harmful.

Talk Honestly and Openly

If you try to convince your children that drugs don’t make you feel good, you’ll be lying to them, and that can encourage them to try narcotics for themselves. Instead, you should openly discuss the euphoric effects of drugs and explain that the “high” feeling is what causes people to become addicted. Teach your children that, as someone builds up a tolerance to opioids and other narcotics, they will have to take more of the drug to achieve the same effect. This ultimately leads to an overdose unless the user seeks addiction treatment.

Encourage Discussion

When you constantly lecture your kids that drugs are harmful and forbid them from experimenting with them, it may not be long before your kids start using. Instead, encourage discussions and be open to any questions that your kids may have about drug use. While instilling fear will backfire, providing your kids with accurate information will help them see why trying drugs will lead down a dangerous path. When they’re confronted with the opportunity to use opioids and have accurate knowledge of drug use, they will be better prepared to make the right decisions.

Finally, parents should avoid the temptation to present themselves as an ideal example. Instead, sharing your own experiences with drug use will help your teens see that the struggle with drug use and addiction is something that many people face. They will feel more confident in making the right decision when they have a role model who has also dealt with similar issues.

This article was originally published at EmberConley.us.

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