Many of our Turning Point Recovery Center patients started their alcohol and drug use at an early age. The responsibility falls on parents to talk to their kids about the danger of those choices.

Heroin use has increased nearly 80% from 2007 to 2012 according to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) rising from 373,000 to 669,000 in people aged 12 and older. Marijuana use is also on the rise and is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

If you’re a parent, these statistics should pose a concern to you about the future of your child. At some point, children will be exposed to situations where they are around drinking and/or drug use. It’s vital that they are equipped with facts, knowledge, and values so they can make the right decisions for their future.

Consider This:

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day 105 people in the United States die of drug overdose and 6,748 are treated for emergency drug use or abuse situations.

Once a person becomes an addict, they will spend the rest of their lives either in recovery or using. They will never be able to shift back into casual drinking and drug use once they have had an abuse problem.

When is the right time to talk to your kids about drugs?

Right now! It’s never too soon to begin an open dialog with your children about the real and serious impacts of drug use.

How do I start the conversation?

The first step in talking to your kids about drugs is to establish your family values in regards to drinking and drug use. It’s your responsibility as a parent to know what your family’s values are about these difficult topics and to communicate them honestly and frequently to your kids.

Children are bombarded with immense amounts of information every day from their peers, the media, different family members, and any number of other sources. You need to help your kids understand and synthesize the information they are receiving by educating them and equipping them with knowledge.

Why is it important to have this conversation soon?

Drug abuse starts early. At Turning Point, we take patients ages 18 and older, but we frequently have 18, 19, and 20 year olds in our office who are already alcoholics or drug addicts. Some of them started using drugs and alcohol at the age of 12 or even younger.

A recent study revealed that, “78 percent of U.S. teens had drank alcohol, and 47 percent of the group said they’d consumed 12 or more drinks in the past year. When it came to drug use, 81 percent of teens said they had the opportunity to use illicit substances, with 42.5 percent actually tried them.”

Drinking and drug use often starts recreationally and socially, but begins to get more severe as time goes on. It’s also important to consider that if your family has a history of alcohol or drug abuse problems, your child may be predispositioned to developing severe addictions and dependencies quickly.

Talk to your kids about the realities of drug use and equip them with knowledge for the future. One day, they may thank you for it!

If you have a kid already addicted and in need of an intervention, download our “Intervention Checklist” today.