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Parent's Guide to Drug Prevention Updated

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From guest blogger Michele Molnar

Today's adolescents and teens face a much different drug landscape than did those raised in the late 1990s, which is one reason the U.S. Department of Education and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) updated an in-depth guide for parents.

"Growing Up Drug-Free: A Parent's Guide to Prevention (2012)" is a 55-page booklet covering an array of topics to educate parents and caregivers about how to address this issue with their children.

Originally published in 1998, the revised publication gives parents ideas about how to talk with their children about drugs, and what to do if families believe their children are using illicit drugs and alcohol.

Among the parental myths the booklet aims to dispel are these:

  • My child isn't exposed to drugs and wouldn't do them anyway.

  • It's normal for kids to experiment with drugs.

  • I can't change my child's future.

  • My kids don't care what I think.

  • It's okay for me to use because I'm an adult.

  • I don't want to alienate my child by being too strict.

The publication gives parents an idea of what substances kids use, from the usual suspects—tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana—to the less anticipated, like inhalants accessed via household products, anabolic steroids, and synthetic stimulants called "bath salts."

Reading the newest version of this publication, with its real stories of drug use and abuse, is sobering for any parent who reads it in the soberest of states.

Pictures in the booklet will help parents and caregivers identify unfamiliar drugs and paraphernalia they might find in their homes.

The Education Department and DEA are clearly hitting a nerve with their target audience. As my colleague Ross Brenneman wrote here recently, Los Angeles parents' enthusiasm for a drug testing program has motivated the district to expand it.

Parents who don't know what to do about drugs and alcohol will clearly get new ideas from this updated, free resource, which was released in October.

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