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When Should I Talk to My Kids About Drugs?

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It’s no surprise that those who develop substance use disorders during adulthood, began experimenting with drugs or drinking alcohol while they were adolescents. With the age of first use getter younger and younger, when is a good time to begin discussing drug and alcohol use with your children? 

For many, the answer is as soon as possible. 

This can be seen in a recent segment of the long-running children’s puppet show Sesame Street. A puppet character named Karli and a human friend, Salia, both say their parents use drugs.  Addiction is a sickness, they say. One that, “makes a person feel like they need to take drugs or drink alcohol to feel okay.”  

The discussion, while not especially detailed, takes a different approach to drug addiction education. The message of the Sesame Street segment does not hinge on the scared-straight tactics employed by programs like D.A.R.E. in the 90s and 00s. The segment on Sesame stresses to children who have parents who are addicts, that they are not alone and that it is okay to “talk about your feelings.”

Talk to Your Kids

Addiction experts believe that having conversations with children about drug and alcohol use at an early age could work as a preventative measure.  

Matt Bell is the CEO of Midwest Recovery Center in Toledo, OH and the president of Team Recovery.  the Sesame Street segment is a cultural step in the right direction.  

“I think utilizing any platform to reach individuals is wonderful,” he said. “As a society, we need to stop being so reactive to this crisis and start becoming more proactive with prevention and educational efforts. As the epidemic changes and becomes more complex, we should also be adapting with our prevention and treatment efforts.” 

Part of Team Recovery’s educational efforts include a seminar called “Choices and Consequences.” Over the course of four years, the seminar has been presented to nearly 150,000 students from 1st grade to college. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), at age 12, ten percent of children say they’ve drank alcohol. That number shoots to 50 percent by age 15. Their research shows open and honest conversations with children at an early age are effective. Doing so will allow parents to set expectations and create a strong healthy relationship between them and their child. By decreasing isolation, a child has a better chance of not developing a substance use disorder. 

Drug & Alcohol Detox and Outpatient Treatments

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, seeking help is the easiest route to recovery.  

Addiction impacts the entire family. At Amatus Recovery Centers across the country, we are dedicated to including loved ones during treatment programs. Families should always be part of the recovery process. Through therapy and education you and your loved one can develop healthy boundaries and ways to show support. 

Amatus Recovery Centers offers many types of treatment to address drug and alcohol abuse. From residential detox programs to curb the painful symptoms of withdrawal, to outpatient care including individual therapy and group counseling, we will find the  

To learn about our addiction treatment centers and which level of care is right for you, contact an admissions specialist at 833- 216-3079. 

Amatus Recovery Centers, a division of Amatus Health, offers treatment for drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders in facilities across the country. To learn more visit amatusrecoverycenters.com.