How to Talk to Your Child About Opioid Abuse

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

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

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

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


5 Ways to Keep Yourself Safe From the Threat of Harmful Opioid Use

by Imran Tariq

Who Can Get to Your Medication?

by National Safety Council

Opioids: Killing Ourselves with Pain Relief

by Terri Parke

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.