It is extremely important for all parents to educate themselves about drugs and share the information with their young kids. Drug awareness and education can prevent substance abuse and even save lives. Family planning is knowing how to keep our kids healthy and safe therefore, family discussion about drugs and alcohol should be included. Too many kids will not know how to avoid trying drugs, synthetic/designer drugs or avoid prescription drug abuse because they did not have a plan for themselves or are unable to recognize drugs. For some kids, trying a drug a few times can began their battle with Substance Use Disorder. If parents do not teach and discuss drugs with their young kids, how are kids supposed to plan to stay substance free and be ready to face a drug filled world? It is never to early or too late to start discussing drugs and drug abuse as a family.
Many parents believe if they tell their kids about drugs and educate them, they will want to try drugs but this is not true. Kids will be curious but early drug education can reduce risk taking and poor decision making for many. Some kids are more curious than others and will risk trying drugs anyway despite the dangers they know. Being a drug educated parent will help you recognize the early signs of substance use and allow you to seek help early for your kid. "Just say no" is not working and should be replaced with, "The more they know the better they can grow."
Addiction is a family disease because everyone living around the person struggling with substance abuse becomes confused or doubtful. Relationships are impacted as trust is broken many times by the person struggling with addiction. The disease of addiction impairs a person's ability to make good judgments as they are more prone to lie and steal when addiction is left untreated or if relapse occurs. Family members living with substance abuse situations are mentally impacted which can affect other relationships and lack of trust. By leaning on others who have not broke trust will help ease the impact on your family through open discussions. Working together as a family will decrease the chance of one of you becoming an enabler through deceit which leads to guilt.
Understanding addiction and why your addicted loved one breaks trust will help you sort through your feelings and trust issues with others. Letting go of blame and shame will allow you to hold on to your healthy relationships and build new ones. As you continue to learn and understand the disease of addiction, you will feel more comfortable to discuss the topic which helps everyone. Relationships can be strengthened or rebuilt as you discover trust again and feel the support from those around you. Addiction is a family disease but should not tear the family apart and impact the love you have for each other or others in your life.
It is a good idea to look for unexpected items that can signal substance abuse so look around your kids room, check pant pockets, jacket pockets and their car for drug paraphernalia. The earlier parents are able to recognize drug related items minimizes the impact on the kid and the family. Being educated and aware of all types of drug abuse is smart even if you believe no one in your home would abuse substances. There are many choices of substances to abuse in any town or city and easy for your kid to buy or be given. The IMAP (I Make a Plan) info graphic is an easy first step to help guide you as you raise your family. Substance abuse and addiction can turn a happy home into a dark dwelling place. Being able to recognize and openly address drug use will benefit your family and save heartache. Spending a little time educating yourself about substance abuse, drug use and addiction could save lives. Drug use and substance abuse includes prescription medications such as Opioid pain relievers.