One of the scariest and most confusing things about being a parent may be having to address potential substance abuse and the peer pressure that children may feel to experiment with drugs. Many experts agree that children need direct, honest dialogue when it comes to talks about drugs in order to really get them to understand why they should not engage in that type of risky behavior.

During middle school and high school, some parents may start to realize that they have less influence over their children than ever before, as their friends, idols and pop culture becomes more of a factor in their decisions. In order to avoid being ignored when it comes to a dialogue about the dangers of drug abuse, honesty is definitely the best policy. Young people tend to ignore threats of punishment and even rebel, but if they truly understand that what different substances do to them and how they can ruin their lives, there is generally a greater chance that the advice to abstain is heeded.

Providing a forum where teens can ask any questions they may have regarding drug use is essential in helping to break down the mystery or allure about drugs. These forums can be in smaller settings at schools, churches and other community groups where the topics can be openly discussed. Heroin has been one of the biggest topics of late.

“What I see in schools is teens want an honest conversation about the drug. They are becoming adults. They have questions and in different households there is not that ability to ask those types of questions,” explained Renee Smith, an addiction prevention expert who works with many adolescents.

In today’s society, where young people are bombarded with messages that promote irresponsible behavior such as substance abuse, they need all the help they can get to help combat those negative influences.