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Kids and Drugs

Leah Sarich | posted Wednesday, May 4th, 2016


Last year in Alberta there were 272 overdose deaths involving the drug fentanyl. Now we know there is a street drug in Alberta called W-18 that is 100 times stronger than fentanyl. That’s why parents are very concerned right now about these drugs and their children. David Hodgins, Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary who specializes in addictions, says it’s a terrifying time for parents.

He suggests parents talk to their kids right now about drugs. He says it’s not one conversation but it’s several conversations that establish an open line of communication between parent and child. He says using a news story about fentanyl or W-18 would be a great springboard for a conversation. And parents must be prepared to listen without judgement to try and get an understanding of where their child is coming from. Hodgins also suggests parents educate themselves about what’s out there, so in this case, about fentanyl and W-18. And these conversations need to happen sooner rather than later. Hodgins says research shows children as young as age 11, 12 and 13 have the opportunity to access drugs and that the average age of initiation is 15, so the earlier the better to talk about drug use.

Hodgins says there are many reasons why kids choose NOT to do drugs, but one of the main reasons is because drugs are not compatible with what the child might be doing or want to do. For example if the child is a hockey player or a dancer, being on drugs won’t allow them to do that successfully. This is a point parents should articulate clearly to their kids.

And if parents are concerned their child is already using drugs, parents need to step in and not take a relaxed approach. Hodgins says a child is not going to ask a parent about drug counselling or treatment. These options need to be suggested by the parent.

The good news is once most parents have the conversation about drugs with their kid, they’re often reassured that their child will make safe choices.

For more information about fentanyl and W-18 visit this website, for more information on talking to your kids about drugs visit this site.




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