Ohio “Start Talking” Program Emphasizes Parental Role in Teen Substance Abuse Prevention
Parents have heard this before: when it comes to avoiding drugs, teenagers cite parental influence as a major factor. But how can today’s parents communicate the importance of abstention from drugs to their adolescent children?
One new program believes that the answer is simple: start talking to teens about drugs.
Ohio Wants Parents to “Start Talking”
That’s the name of the latest drug-prevention initiative in the state of Ohio. “Start Talking” was launched in 2014 by Governor John Kasich and his wife Karen in conjunction with several partner agencies like the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Ohio PTA, and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
As the name implies, the goal of “Start Talking” is to encourage parents and their teenaged kids to talk about the dangers of both illicit and misused prescription drugs. Also, drug advocates are taking this program to schools, businesses, health care facilities, community centers, and places of worship with the hope of reaching as many teens as possible.
Law Enforcement, Educators are Helping
The creators of “Start Talking” are opting to take a multi-pronged approach to spread the word about the hazards of drugs. For example, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is spearheading a program known as “5 Minutes.” The idea is for law enforcement officials take five minutes to sit down and talk with student leaders about encouraging their peers to make responsible decisions regarding drugs.
Another program is known as “HOPE,” which stands for Health and Opioid Prevention Education. “HOPE” is a curriculum that is distributed to Ohio schools to help educate students of all ages about illicit drugs and their effects on those who abuse them. The purpose is to teach the students the necessary skills and attitudes they need to avoid falling victim to substance abuse.
Parents Getting Valuable Assistance, Knowledge
“Start Talking” also promotes programs which directly target parents and caregivers of kids. For instance, “KNOW!” aims to empower parents of middle schoolers with the information and advice they need to raise substance-free children. Developed by the Prevention Action Alliance, “KNOW!” distributes newsletters which contain parenting tips and teachable moments that give these parents the tools and strategies to help them protect their children from the scourge of drugs.
Finally, a program called “Parents 360Rx” focuses on the specific category of prescription medications such as opioids, stimulants, and depressants that are often misused by teens. Much of the program is centered around the “Parents360Rx” video which portrays real-life stories of parents of teenagers who abused prescription drugs (not all of which have happy endings).
In the video, the parents discuss the warning signs of teen drug abuse and dispense advice on how to confront teenagers about their problem. Parents can also receive a “Parents360Rx toolkit” with information on how to host a gathering to show the video, foster discussion about the issue of teen prescription drug abuse, and take preventative measures to keep teens from obtaining these drugs.
How to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse
If you live in Ohio and want more information on “Start Talking,” you can visit the initiative’s website. For everyone else, here is a summary of what parents should do to safeguard their kids against prescription drug abuse:
- Monitor the quantities of prescription medications in your home.
- Secure those prescription drugs that could potentially be abused.
- Dispose of any unused medications.
- Know the signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse.
- Share information with your friends, family, and other parents about prescription drug abuse.
- Talk to your teens about the perils of non-medical prescription drug use.
Finally, if you think your teen is abusing prescription medications, seek help immediately from a health care provider or drug treatment professional. Don’t let your children become another drug abuse statistic.
For more information on drug treatment or rehab facility options, contact us.