The Importance of Talking to Kids About Drugs

Talking to youth

If you have children, the time will come when you will need to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol. This talk isn’t something anyone looks forward to, but it is a necessary part of being a parent. While difficult conversations aren’t something that are a lot of fun, it is essential to remember that there are a lot of resources available for parents about the topic of drugs and alcohol. There are now more street drugs than ever, and people are dying from drugs and alcohol at unprecedented rates, so it is more important now than ever that parents educate themselves on this subject.

The talk about drugs isn’t something that is a one-and-done conversation; this will need to be talked about throughout the time your child is growing up. If you are still unsure about the importance of talking to your children about drugs, here are ten reasons why it is a necessary subject to go over.

1. We live in a culture that glorifies the party lifestyle.

It’s sad but true; the United States is a country that very often glorifies drinking and drug use. Movies and tv shows will show the enjoyable side of partying and make it seem like it is all fun and games. Unfortunately, while movies very often depict drug and alcohol use, they do not usually show the negative aspects of drinking and drugs. We must educate our children on all aspects and consequences of drug and alcohol use. Without proper education on the issue, they will be unable to make informed decisions about something that can destroy their lives.

2. If you don’t talk to your kids, someone else will.

Teenagers on a roof talking about drugs

If you don’t speak to your children about drugs and alcohol, they will still learn about the issue from someone else. If they find out about drugs from someone other than you, they will most likely not receive all of the information needed to understand the consequences of their actions. There is no hiding from drug use, it is a part of our society, and we must equip our children with knowledge about these issues.

3. Street drugs are more dangerous than ever.

Drug overdose deaths have been on the rise for some time now. Due to a combination of more accessible access to drugs and counterfeit pills circulating the streets, there has never been a more dangerous time to use illicit drugs off the street than now. Illicit fentanyl is being mixed into all types of drugs, and very often, a person will not know that it is in their drugs when they are purchasing them. Most people do not have a high tolerance for fentanyl, and it is all too easy for them to overdose on the drug. The risks of using illicit drugs are too high, and kids must understand these risks before the opportunity presents itself.

4. There is a lot of misinformation out there.

There is a lot of dangerous misinformation circulating around about drug use. For example, many people think that heroin is not that addictive as long as you don’t shoot it up and only smoke or snort it instead. The road to addiction is very often paved with misinformation. Because there is so much false information, parents must educate themselves about drugs and addiction issues in order to educate their children.

5. We are still in a drug crisis.

Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, the drug crisis has not gone anywhere. If anything, the addiction problem plaguing the United States has only gotten worse since the beginning of Covid-19. There is no way around this issue, drugs are here, and they aren’t going away anytime soon. It is only a matter of time before your child is exposed to them, and parents must inform their kids enough to helo them make a good decision when that time comes.

6. Prepare them for the inevitable.

Sooner or later, someone will offer your child drugs—a sad but very real fact. I remember the first time I was exposed to someone else using drugs; I was in middle school. Unfortunately, kids are being exposed to drugs earlier and earlier, and the problem isn’t going away. The best thing that a parent can do is educate their children and coach them on the importance of making the right choice.

School drugs

7. Your child will very likely run into drugs at school.

Many children are first exposed to drugs from people they know at school. Kids use drugs in the school bathroom, on their lunch break, and in the parking lots. While most schools do have some form of drug education, this often comes too little, too late. It is not wise to rely on the school system to teach your child about drugs. The only person you can depend on to get the job done right is yourself.

8. Despite how it may feel, parents strongly influence their children.

It may not always feel like it, but you have a strong influence over your child as a parent. While children do not always listen to their parents, things that are said will very often at least plant a seed that may develop further on. Therefore, it is essential to use this influence for good and do your best to help your child navigate this crazy world.

9. Someday, they will grow up to make their own decisions.

Sooner or later, all children will grow up and become adults that will need to make their own decision. At this point, most of the choices they make will be out of your hands. The role of the parent will shift to that of a support role. When the time comes that your child is grown and ready to leave the nest, it is essential to know that you did everything you could to prepare them for the world.

Parents hug

10. Because you love them.

The most important reason to talk to your children about drugs is that you love them. No one wants to see their child suffer from addiction or pass away from an overdose. Drugs can be a scary topic and an uncomfortable one at that, but it needs to be talked about on several occasions. The best thing that you can do for your child regarding addiction prevention is to educate yourself as much as possible about the subject. Find reputable sources to teach you about the signs and symptoms of drug use. Learn what drugs look and smell like. Know who your kids are spending time with. Read books and articles about how to talk to your children about drug use. Do whatever you can to help prevent them from falling into addiction, and know that even if they do happen to slip up later on, you did everything you could to prevent that from happening and that it is not your fault. The best thing you can do is prepare your child by starting from an early age and educating them about the truth about drugs. Then when the time comes, they can make their own informed and responsible decision.


Reviewed by Matt Hawk, BS, CADC-II, ICADC



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.