Talk to your kids early and often about alcohol and other drugs.
What is the best way to keep your kids from drinking and using drugs?
It could be as simple as talking early and talking often. The “Talk Early, Talk Often” campaign is organized by the SUP Coalition to educate and empower parents and caregivers to have ongoing conversations with the young people in their lives around drugs and alcohol.
Research has shown that although it may seem like kids aren’t listening — they really are. Parents are role models for kids and your views on alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can strongly influence how they think about them. Make talking about drugs a part of your general health and safety conversations — starting as early as elementary age and continuing on from there.
Today’s e-cigarettes are more addictive than traditional cigarettes, causing heightened concerns for parents, communities and health officials.
Addictive qualities of e-cigarettes are measured by the amount of nicotine that is contained in e-cigarette juice or pre-filled pods and the flavors used.
In a 2015 study, 99 percent of e-cigarette products sold contained nicotine. In a regular strength tobacco cigarette, the nicotine levels average around 18 mg/ml. In a JUUL, the e-cigarette market’s biggest player, the nicotine level measures 59 mg/ml in their pre-filled, flavored pods.
This high amount of nicotine can change brain chemistry, making youth more susceptible to addiction and negatively affecting memory and attention span, after only a few days or weeks of use. These effects may last a long time or even be permanent.
In 2019, approximately 19 percent of Sherburne County 8th, 9th, and 11th grade students reported past month e-cigarette use on the MN Student Survey, which was 2 percent higher than the state’s usage rate. Studies show that youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try conventional cigarettes in the future than youth who do not use e-cigarettes.
Learn more about the dangers of using e-cigarettes and other vape devices by viewing our short 5-minute video on “8 Things to Know About Vaping” along with an associated Discussion Guide.
Posters (print copies available)
Table Tents (print copies available)
Our friends at Clearway MN created two helpful interactive photos below to demonstrate just how difficult it can be to spot vaping devices among their supplies. Visit www.missingitmn.org to see these photos live and for more info.
Today’s marijuana is more potent than the marijuana that was available to a generation ago. Potency is measured by the amount of the mind altering chemical THC that is contained in marijuana.
In the 1980’s the concentrations of THC averaged 4%. In 2018 the concentrations averaged around 15%. The mild euphoric feelings smoking marijuana left someone in the 1980’s have now been replaced by some users reporting being in catatonic states or hallucinating after using small amounts.
We continue to see fluctuations in student usage. In 2019, approximately 17 percent of Sherburne County high school juniors reported past month marijuana use on the MN Student Survey. The same year also saw lower rates in perceived harm and less disapproval of use among parents and peers.
Unfortunately, developing brains may be more prone to damage. The part of the brain which controls reasoning and impulses, known as the prefrontal cortex, isn’t fully developed until about age 25. Marijuana use can reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions. These effects may last a long time or even be permanent.
Legal responses to marijuana use across the nation have left many feeling confused about this drug.
Paul Fischer and Francine Kosse, two Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors with M Health Fairview, dispel some of the myths surrounding marijuana use and share how it can negatively impact those that use it, especially youth.
As part of the campaign, 5 videos were filmed with help from local adult and youth residents to bring awareness to a variety of topics.
Three videos display common parent-child scenarios designed to provide examples of how to respond during certain situations and how using opportune times to talk allows you to initiate more ongoing conversations.
Two videos enlisted help from local law enforcement to discuss the importance of Social Host Ordinances and how they benefit our community as well as local healthcare professionals to dispel some of the myths surrounding youth marijuana use (as seen above).
Car Talk: Use natural opportunities such as driving (or riding) somewhere or during dinner to start open, honest conversations about drinking and other drug use.
Seek discussion, don't lecture! Share your own experiences and opinions and how they have changed over the years. As you are willing to open-up and share experiences, so will your child.
Checking-In: Text messaging is a great way for parents to keep in touch and monitor what their children are doing without being obtrusive. Teens are more likely to respond to texts that facilitate short, quick responses rather than answering a phone call.
Confrontation vs. Conversation: Finding out your teen used drugs definitely stirs up a parent's emotions. It can be a very confusing time. But the best way to help your teen - and to make sure they hear you - is to remain as calm as possible throughout the conversation. Also, it's as important, if not more, that you listen to them.
Do not try to start the conversation when you can tell your child is drunk or high. Hold off until they are sober. You want to be able to have a conversation, rather than a confrontation.
Social Host Ordinances (SHO):
What is a Social Host Ordinance? What isn't it? Why is it important?
These are a few of the questions we often get asked.
We enlisted help from local law enforcement to answer these important questions.
Learn more about our Social Host Ordinances here.
Parents are the most powerful influence in a child’s life. Talk early and often about the risks, set clear rules against drug use, and enforce reasonable consequences for breaking the rules.
Additional Resources to Help Start or Continue the Conversations:
Visit our Parent Resources page for additional information.