Have you ever talked to your children about the potential consequences of substance abuse?
Schools may offer their own programs that educate students on the important topic, but New Jersey advocates say it’s critical for parents and guardians to be part of the conversation — and get them involved before kids reach an age where they can. falling victim to peer pressure is more likely.
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“I think those conversations can’t wait until a child is in their teens,” said Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. “If they don’t learn it at home, they learn it through peers. They learn it on the Internet.”
According to surveys released by PDFNJ, parents consistently report having talked about drugs with their child. Between 2006 and 2016, the rate fluctuated between 93% and 96%, according to the surveys. On average, parents started the conversations when their children were 9 or 10 years old.
But one national survey released in 2021 by DrugAbuse.com found that 50% of parents, including 50% of New Jersey parents surveyed, “admit that they have avoided talking to their children about the dangers of drug use.”
New Jersey in 2017 the highest percentage posted among juvenile detention states, 9.89% were drug-related, according to an analysis of FBI data by the Texas-based Greenhouse Treatment Center.
“We know that when a young person is experimenting with drugs, a certain percentage of those young people will become dependent, and that dependence can very easily lead to addiction,” Valente said.
DrugAbuse.com, part of American Addiction Centers, advises parents to be honest with their children, but know where to draw the line. Parents are also advised to listen to what their children want to say and ask – it is possible that the child has already experimented and wants to discuss the experience.
“Conversations are a two-way street, so be careful not to deliver a monologue — open the floor for discussion,” the group says.