Experts give advice on talking to teens about drugs, alcohol

Drugs and alcohol are a concern for most parents of teenagers. The Four Rivers Region ranks the highest in Kentucky for 10th graders who say they’ve had a sip of alcohol or tried marijuana in the last 30 days, according to the latest Kentucky Incentives for Prevention survey.

The Calloway County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention hosted a "Communities Talk" town hall meeting in downtown Murray Tuesday night. 

It was hosted by a panel of law enforcement and substance abuse prevention specialists. Parents could ask questions like how to bring up the topic in the first place. Four Rivers Substance And Alcohol Abuse Prevention Specialist Samantha Powell says to do it in the most natural way possible.

“If there is a song on the radio like, a lot of country songs have drinking in it or rap songs have drug use in it, that’s a good use good time to start the conversation,” Powell said.

If your child tells you they have, Powell says don’t freak out.

“Be supportive, because you don’t want to lose them. if you get mad at them that first time, they are not going to come back to you and talk to you again,” Powell said.

The biggest advice from counselors and parents start the conversation early and stayed engaged with your kids.

Michelle Hansen who organized the CC-ASAP forum hopes that by talking about it, more people realize the dangers in teens drinking early.

“The longer that we can delay that first to serve alcohol, the longer that brain can develop a normal pattern and in the way that it should,” Hansen said.

Hansen added that the more we talk about it, the more it may stick with our youngest generation.

Powell recommends having your child take an assessment at a behavioral therapy center if they’ve admitted to trying recreational drugs or alcohol.

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