Experts presume that the pandemic has played a part in increased drug abuse and deaths, but to date, no hard evidence exists. What experts do say, however, is that early education and prevention are key to reversing the trend.
An ounce of prevention
Candor, which provides drug and sex health education to students in grades 4 to 8, has stepped up its drug education content for both children and parents. Its ‘Science Behind Drugs’ curriculum is continuously evolving to address trends in drug use and abuse. Candor believes that engaging parents in discussions with their children about drugs and sexual health leads to healthier choices.
Tips for parents
• Be approachable and initiate conversation – Talking in the car can be a more comfortable place to talk – and talking about it once is not enough
• Use news stories to start conversations – When something related to drug use of overdosing is in the news, use it to start the conversation.
• Share your values and expectations- The #1 reason kids say that they do not use alcohol and other drugs is because their parents will be disappointed.
• Establish clear rules – Setting clear, specific rules is the foundation for the parental effort in prevention. Create the rules with your child and enforce them consistently.
• Keep track of medications – It is important to properly dispose of medications in a timely manner.
• Build the parent/child relationship – Eat meals together when you can and remove electronics from meals, bedrooms, and family activities. Take an interest in your child’s interests.
• Know their friends – Pay attention to who your child is hanging out with and take the opportunity to introduce yourself to their parents. Be their way out.
• Let your child know that they can call you anytime to come get them or when in a peer pressure situation. They can always use you as an excuse.