By Jennie Reedy
One would think it would be easy to talk to kids about the dangers of drugs. You just tell them that drugs are dangerous, addictive substances that have been known to ruin or end lives and that they should just say no, right? Sadly, things aren’t that simple. Repeating the old “Just say no” slogan that seemed to be everywhere in the 1980s isn’t a bad idea, but it clearly isn’t enough. Our children need to be educated on the truth of drug abuse, and while that is sometimes easier said than done, it is far from impossible.
One of the failings of past drug education efforts was simply that they weren’t always entirely honest. These efforts definitely had their hearts in the right places, but whether it was due to a lack of information or a complete misrepresentation of existing information, many past drug education programs were laughably inaccurate. Basically, they attempted to scare people into avoiding drugs either simply by saying that drugs were bad without providing evidence or context or by exaggerating their effects (see the so-bad-it’s-good cult classic film Reefer Madness for a good example of propaganda missing the mark).
If you really want to steer children away from drugs, just tell them the truth. Assure them that drugs can be good as long as they are prescribed by medical professionals and used as directed. Tell them that drugs cost a lot of money and that many of the problems they cause for people are financial. Most importantly, be honest with your children, and stick to what you know about drugs instead of scaring them with myths and half-truths. Don’t be afraid to perform plenty of research to learn about the dangers of specific drugs as well. Hopefully, the truth will sound just as scary to your kids as any rumor you may have heard.
Address Peer Pressure
Many drug education efforts focus on peer pressure, and for good reason. Many drug users first started using drugs because of their friends, either because they wanted to emulate them or they were pressured into it. This problem is particularly serious, and it should be addressed. You should always teach your children to make their own decisions, and that nobody should be able to pressure them into doing something they don’t want to do. Let them know that their true friends will respect their decision not to use drugs, and that those who would force it on them aren’t worth their time and attention.
Many people think that talking to their children about the dangers of drug abuse is difficult. While this is somewhat true, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as so many of us have made it out to be. As long as you treat your children with respect and trust them to understand the truth about drugs, you should be able to help them make the right choices.
About the Author:
Jennie is a youth drug counselor residing in Florida. She recommends visiting http://www.gulfcoastdrugrehab.com/florida-drug-rehab if you or someone you know struggles with drug addiction.