When it comes to talking about the danger of drugs with teenagers, parents, like educators, need the right tools. Red Ribbon Week, which runs from October 23-31, is great time to talk to your children and encourage them to remain drug free.

Did you know that children of parents who do speak with their teens on a regular basis about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who do not? And yet, one out of four teens will report that they never have a conversation about drugs with their parents. One way parents can make these conversations less intimidating is to plan ahead and have good information available to share with your children.

Drug Free: Take the Pledge

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The Red Ribbon Campaign offers pledges for both parents and for youth, which are posted on their website. Our LPC, Shelley Roberts, encourages parents to review these pledges with their children and sign them together. You can do this electronically or go to the downloads page on the Red Ribbon website to print the pledges. There are also other helpful resources for parents on this website. Those with younger children may want to print the Red Ribbon coloring pages for their kids, allowing you to start the conversation about drugs early in an age-appropriate way. There is also a photo contest students can enter.

Another pledge parents can take is the Lock Your Meds pledge. Read through the information at lockyourmeds.org to learn how you as a parent can take a stand against prescription drug abuse and better protect your children. This site has several good resources and reminders.

Drug Free: Vaping and Prescription Drugs

Yet another helpful site our LPC would like to share with parents offers some great free resources, as well as a recorded webinar, about vaping and prescription drug abuse. About one-quarter of all high school students report that they have used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. One in five high school seniors reports that having misused prescription drugs. These figures are especially frightening in light of recent news stories that confirm the dangers associated with both vaping and with opioid addiction. The tool kit on this site includes a digital course for high school students to help them make healthy, informed decisions about drugs. While some of the resources on this site are intended for educators, they are great for parents, too, with discussion guides, activities, printables and more (all free).

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For families who may have a more immediate need with substance abuse issues, Ms. Roberts recommends the Cenikor website. Cenikor has a location in San Marcos for Adult and Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Servces.

Ms. Roberts is available to talk to students or parents during regular school hours. Contact her at 512-753-8045 for any questions. Students can drop by Ms. Roberts’ office on the second floor of Cavness-Reed Hall to make an appointment any time.

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