How can we help prevent youth substance misuse and dependence?
The earlier people start using any substance the more likely they are to develop problem use. The substances that kids almost always start with are alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. Help youth delay use for as long as possible while their brains are still developing. Social norms and access to and promotion of substances can all increase underage use. Communities can help support kids by limiting their exposure to adult-only substances through thoughtful considerations of how advertising, use in public spaces, and density of retailers is allowed in your area.
How can I talk with my kids about this?
It is never too early to start a conversation with kids about drug and alcohol use. When young people have supportive adults in their lives that they can talk to, they are much less likely to use drugs. Here are a few tips from the VT Department of Health:
- Start the conversation early to get ahead of the conversation.
- Be clear, direct, and specific.
- Have an ongoing, two-way dialogue.
- Focus on their goals and explain how drugs can get in theway.
- Stay positive.
Below are a few of the many resources available to help you have conversations with your kids about cannabis and help increase their understanding of the negative impact it can have on their developing brains:
- ParentUp Vermont has a lot of free tips on how tot alk with your tween and teens about cannabis and other substances.
- VT's Lets Talk Cannabis campaign has information for both parents and any adult about the cannabis available today and the laws in VT.
- Partnership to End Addiction has a quick read on "How to Talk About Marijuana"
- Talk They Hear You has lots of great tools to help you start- and keep up- the conversation about the dangers of drinking alcohol and using other drugs at a young age. Here is one specific to marijuana.