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Middle School Marks Most Critical Time to Start Ongoing Conversations About Drug and Alcohol Use With Kids

Thursday, September 6, 2007 General News J E 4
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NEW YORK, Sept. 5 Because many parents have a difficulttime talking to their kids about drugs and alcohol, The Partnership for aDrug-Free America(R)'s new nationwide parent movement Time To Talk(TM)(www.TimeToTalk.org), -- a campaign celebrating the influence parents have onthe decisions their children make for themselves -- is providing parents andcaregivers with the resources they want and need to protect their children.Middle school is a crucial time for parents to start talking -- research showsthat by 8th grade, many kids have been exposed to tobacco, alcohol, marijuanaand inhalants. A significant number of middle-schoolers have also been exposedto drugs like Ecstasy, cocaine, or heroin, all of which are very dangeroussubstances.(1)

With access to conversation starters and a supportive online parent forum,TimeToTalk.org empowers parents to take an active role in prevention by havingongoing conversations with their children during their middle school and teenyears.

Some useful tips from TimeToTalk.org for parents and caregivers ofmiddle-schoolers include:

For more helpful tips and tools to help get the conversation started withyour middle-schooler this September, visit TimeToTalk.org.

It is never too early to start having open conversations with childrenabout the dangers and consequences of drug and alcohol use. In fact, achild's entry into middle school marks a critical juncture -- a time whenparents need to be aware of their child's new surroundings and the pressuresthat come with exposure to new peers and social situations. TimeToTalk.orgfeatures tips specifically designed to help parents get the conversationstarted with children entering middle school.

"You may think your son or daughter is still too young, but middle schoolmarks one of the most significant transitions in children's lives and thefirst time they may be exposed to alcohol, inhalants and drug abuse in ameaningful way," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership."Children tend to aspire upwards -- 5th graders want to emulate the behaviorsof 7th or 8th graders and so on, right up through high school. For thisreason, parents need to start talking with their children early, as they entermiddle school, and keep the conversation going as they head off to college.We want to help parents understand they are one of the most influential voicesin the lives of their children. Time To Talk is the place where we willcontinue to provide easy tips, conversation starters and the personalconnections parents say they need."

Research has found that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs fromtheir parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs, yet only 31percent of kids report learning about the risks of drugs from their parents.

According to data from the 2006 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study(PATS), nearly one-third of parents say they have a need for more informationabout drugs; 30 percent say they need tips on how to start a discussion aboutdrugs; 37 percent reported they want information on how to tell if a child isusing drugs. A growing number of parents don't just want information; theywant advice on what to do and best approaches to having open and honestconversations with their kids.

TimeToTalk.org provides parents helpful tips and tools to begin theseconversations and the encouragement to help parents keep it going over thelong haul. Parents can sign up for free monthly newsletters and gain access totools such as, Tips for Getting the Conversation Started, How to Help Your KidTurn Down Drugs and Answering the Question: "Did You Do Drugs?" Insightful,timely and relevant content and resources are updated and added frequently.The site also links to the Time To Talk Yahoo Group, an online parent forumthat enables parents to share experiences and connect with others facingsimilar situations.

Time To
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