Back-to-School is Opportune Time to Start Dialogue with Your Child about Drugs, Alcohol

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 Child Health News J E 4
"Speak Now Colorado" Campaign Offers Effective Strategies to talk about Drug and Alcohol Use

DENVER, Aug. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The start of a new school year is exciting, but it can also be a stressful time for kids worried about peer pressure and social anxiety. This is the perfect opportunity for parents to start a conversation with their kids about the use of alcohol and marijuana, and the misuse of prescription drugs and other drugs. The Speak Now Colorado campaign, developed by the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health, provides parents and caregivers evidence-based information and resources regarding youth substance abuse prevention.

"Back-to-school is the ideal time to have this conversation, because students will be meeting new friends and making decisions on how they are going to react to offers of alcohol or drugs," said Christian Thurstone, M.D., medical director at the Denver Health Substance Abuse Treatment, Education and Prevention Program. "Speak Now is a great resource to help parents have a meaningful dialogue with their kids about alcohol and drugs – a topic that can be difficult to initiate."

Research has found that parents can have an enormous influence on their children's drinking and drug use, especially during the preteen and early teen years. This is supported by 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data, which found:

  • Youth who can ask a parent, guardian, or other adult for help are 1.5x LESS likely to binge drink.
  • Youth are 3x LESS likely to binge drink if a parent feels it's wrong.

The Speak Now Colorado website provides expert advice and resources for parents of kids 9-20 years of age, and is available in English and Spanish. The site has conversation starters for parents to consider when discussing parties with their kids, or if their child asks about their own use of drugs or alcohol. The site is also useful in helping parents to:

  • Identify high risk behaviors
  • Understand Colorado laws and punishments for possession, use, impaired driving, etc.
  • Learn how alcohol and drugs can affect their child's developing brain

"The key is to talk about these issues not once, but in an ongoing way," Dr. Thurstone said. "This is crucial because your kids will face decisions regarding drugs and alcohol for years to come; they need a strong foundation from which to make healthy choices."

For more information, and for downloadable resource materials, such as fact sheets, posters and social media images, go to

Contacts:Erich Kirshner, Evolution Communications Agency303.921.6733 or

Katie Trexler Kern, Evolution Communications Agency303.941.4118 or


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Speak Now Colorado



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