Alcohol & Drugs

Talk with your kids about alcohol & drugs
Talk with your kids about drugs
The Ultimate Do’s and Don’ts Guide for Talking to Your Kids about Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Fun Without Drinking
Drug Overdose
7 ways to have fun at parties as the only sober person
The Truth about Alcohol
One-Sided Facts about Alcohol
Underage Drinking
Underage Drinking in Oregon
Drug Issues
Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Before You Risk It: Know the law
Binge Drinking

Drunk Driving
Study claims binge-drinking on your birthday can lead to dangerous habits
Drunkorexia' prevalent among college students, study finds

Do I have a Drug or Alcohol Problem?
Are You an Alcoholic?
What Is Wet Brain?
Abuse and Pregnancy
Alcohol in America
Alcoholism Nature vs. Nurture
Are Heavy Drinkers Alcoholics?
Binge Drinking and Depression
Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Disease Theory of Alcoholism
Guide to Living With an Alcoholic
Is There a Cure for It?
Liver Damage Caused by Drinking
Long-Term Health Risks Associated
Risks of Alcohol Poisoning
The Science of a Hangover
Using a Breathalyzer at Home
What Is a Functional Alcoholic?
Women and Alcoholism
Merchandise - Single card - $1.00 includes shipping, Positive Parenting Pack (all 34 cards) - $13.00 plus shipping

Talk with your kids about alcohol & drugsl

The issue of drugs can be very confusing to young children. If drugs are so dangerous, then why is the family medicine cabinet full of them? And why do TV, movies, music and advertising often make alcohol and drug use look so cool?

We need to help our kids to distinguish fact from fiction. And it's not too soon to begin. National studies show that the average age when a child first tries alcohol is 11; for marijuana, it's 12. And many kids start becoming curious about these substances even sooner. So let's get started!

Listen carefully

Student surveys reveal that when parents listen to their children's feelings and concerns, their kids feel comfortable talking with them and are more likely to stay drug-free.

Role play how to say "no"

Role play ways in which your child can refuse to go along with his friends without becoming a social outcast. Try something like this, "Let's play a game. Suppose you and your friends are at Andy's house after school and they find some beer in the refrigerator and ask you to join them in drinking it. The rule in our family is that children are not allowed to drink alcohol. So what could you say?"

If your child comes up with a good response, praise him. If he doesn't, offer a few suggestions like, "No, thanks. Let's play with Sony PlayStation instead," or "No thanks. I don't drink beer. I need to keep in shape for basketball."

Encourage choice

Allow your child plenty of opportunity to become a confident decision-maker. An 8-year-old is capable of deciding if she wants to invite lots of friends to her birthday party or just a close pal or two. A 12-year-old can choose whether she wants to go out for chorus or join the school band. As your child becomes more skilled at making all kinds of good choices, both you and she will feel more secure in her ability to make the right decision concerning alcohol and drugs if and when the time arrives.

Provide age-appropriate information

Make sure the information that you offer fits the child's age and stage. When your 6 or 7-year-old is brushing his teeth, you can say, "There are lots of things we do to keep our bodies healthy, like brushing our teeth. But there are also things we shouldn't do because they hurt our bodies, like smoking or taking medicines when we are not sick."

If you are watching TV with your 8 year-old and marijuana is mentioned on a program, you can say, "Do you know what marijuana is? It's a bad drug that can hurt your body." If your child has more questions, answer them. If not, let it go. Short, simple comments said and repeated often enough will get the message across.

You can offer your older child the same message, but add more drug-specific information. For example, you might explain to your 12-year-old what marijuana and crack look like, their street names and how they can affect his body.

Establish a clear family position on drugs

It's okay to say, "We don't allow any drug use and children in this family are not allowed to drink alcohol. The only time that you can take any drugs is when the doctor or Mom or Dad gives you medicine when you're sick. We made this rule because we love you very much and we know that drugs can hurt your body and make you very sick; some may even kill you. Do you have any questions?"

Be a good example

Children will do what you do much more readily than what you say. So try not to reach for a beer the minute you come home after a tough day; it sends the message that drinking is the best way to unwind. Offer dinner guests nonalcoholic drinks in addition to wine and spirits. And take care not to pop pills, even over-the-counter remedies, indiscriminately. Your behavior needs to reflect your beliefs.

Discuss what makes a good friend

Since peer pressure is so important when it comes to kids' involvement with drugs and alcohol, it makes good sense to talk with your children about what makes a good friend. To an 8-year-old you might say, "A good friend is someone who enjoys the same games and activities that you do and who is fun to be around." 11 to 12-year-olds can understand that a friend is someone who shares their values and experiences, respects their decisions and listens to their feelings. Once you've gotten these concepts across, your children will understand that "friends" who pressure them to drink or smoke pot aren't friends at all. Additionally, encouraging skills like sharing and cooperation -- and strong involvement in fun, healthful activities (such as team sports or scouting) -- will help your children make and maintain good friendships as they mature and increase the chance that they'll remain drug-free.

Build self-esteem

Kids who feel good about themselves are much less likely than other kids to turn to illegal substances to get high. As parents, we can do many things to enhance our children's self-image. Here are some pointers:

  • Offer lots of praise for any job well done.
  • If you need to criticize your child, talk about the action, not the person.
  • Assign do-able chores. Performing such duties and being praised for them helps your child feel good about himself.
  • Setting aside at least 15 uninterrupted minutes per child per day to talk, play a game, or take a walk together, lets them know you care.
  • Say, "I love you." a lot. Nothing will make your child feel better.
  • Information and lessons about drugs are important enough to repeat frequently.
  • If you suspect a problem, seek help.

If your child becomes withdrawn, loses weight, starts doing poorly in school, turns extremely moody, has glassy eyes -- or if the drugs in your medicine cabinet seem to be disappearing too quickly -- talk with your child and reach out to any one of the organizations listed here. You'll be helping your youngster to a healthier, happier future.

Offer lots of praise for any job well done.

If you need to criticize your child, talk about the action, not the person. If your son gets a math problem wrong, it's better to say, "I think you added wrong. Let's try again."

Assign do-able chores. A 6-year-old can bring her plate over to the sink after dinner; a 12-year-old can feed and walk the dog after school. Performing such duties and being praised for them helps your child feel good about himself.

Spend one-on-one time with your youngster. Setting aside at least 15 uninterrupted minutes per child per day to talk, play a game, or take a walk together, lets her know you care.

Say, "I love you." Nothing will make your child feel better.

Repeat the message

Information and lessons about drugs are important enough to repeat frequently. So be sure to answer your children's questions as often as they ask them to initiate conversation whenever the opportunity arises.

If you suspect a problem, seek help

While kids under age 12 rarely develop a substance problem, it can -- and does -- happen. If your child becomes withdrawn, loses weight, starts doing poorly in school, turns extremely moody, has glassy eyes -- or if the drugs in your medicine cabinet seem to be disappearing too quickly -- talk with your child and reach out to any one of the organizations listed here. You'll be helping your youngster to a healthier, happier future.

Talk with your kids about drugs

Over the past few years, surveys have told us that parents have a significant opportunity to influence their children. When kids lean about drugs from their parents, they are 36% less likely to smoke marijuana. 50% less likely to use inhalants, 56% less likely to use cocaine and 65% less likely to use LSD.

Talking about issues such as drugs may be difficult. This card is designed to help you discuss drugs more easily. By maintaining open communication and giving them the truth, you can help your child live a drug-free life.

What do you say?

Tell them that you love them and you want them to live a healthy and happy life.

Say you do not find alcohol and other illegal drug use acceptable. Many parents never state this simple principle.

Explain how this use hurts people.

  • Physical harm, for example, AIDS, slowed growth, impaired coordination, accidents.
  • Emotional harm - sense of not belonging, isolation, paranoia. 
  • Educational harm - difficulties remembering and paying attention.

Discuss the legal issues. A conviction for a drug offense can lead to time in prison or cost someone a job, driver's license, or college loan.

Talk about positive, drug-free alternatives and how you can explore them together. Some ideas include sports, reading, movies, bike rides, hikes, camping, cooking, games and concerts. Involve your kids' friends.

How do you say it?

Calmly and openly - don't exaggerate. The facts speak for themselves.

Face to face - exchange information and try to understand each other's point of view. Be an active listener and let your child talk about fears and concerns. Don't interrupt and don't preach.

Through "teachable moments", in contrast to a formal lecture, use a variety of situations: television news, TV drama, books, newspapers.

Establish an ongoing conversation rather than giving a one-time speech.

Remember that you set the example. Avoid contradictions between your words and your actions. And don't use illegal drugs, period! Even if marijuana is legal.

Learn to read between the lines.

Be creative! You and your child might act out various situations in which one person tries to pressure the other to take a drug. Figure out two or three ways to handle each situation and talk about which works best.

Exchange ideas with other parents.

Convey warmth, respect, and genuine curiosity, and the dividends will pour in when it’s time to talk about other serious issues. And guess what, they’ll probably listen to you more often and even come to you for advice when the going gets tough. How can you go wrong?

The Truth about Alcohol

Slang terms: Booze, Sauce, Brews, Brewskis, Hooch, Hard Stuff, Juice

Get the Facts:

Alcohol affects your brain. Drinking excess alcohol leads to a loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts.

Alcohol affects your body. Alcohol can damage every organ in your body. It is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and can increase your risk for a variety of life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

Alcohol affects your self-control. Alcohol depresses your central nervous system, lowers your inhibitions, and impairs your judgment. Drinking can lead to risky behaviors, including having unprotected sex. This may expose you to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases or cause unwanted pregnancy.

Alcohol can kill you. Drinking large amounts of alcohol can lead to coma or even death. Also, in 1998, 35.8 percent of traffic deaths of 15- to 20-year-olds were alcohol-related.

Alcohol can hurt you -- even if you're not the one drinking. If you're around people who are drinking, you have an increased risk of being seriously injured, involved in car crashes, or affected by violence. At the very least, you may have to deal with people who are sick, out of control, or unable to take care of themselves.

Before You Risk It: Know the law. It is illegal to buy or possess alcohol if you are under 21.

More facts. One drink can make you fail a breath test. In some states, people under the age of 21 who are found to have any amount of alcohol in their systems can lose their driver's license, be subject to a heavy fine, or have their car permanently taken away.

Stay informed. "Binge" drinking means having five or more drinks on one occasion. About 15 percent of teens are binge drinkers in any given month.

Know the risks. Mixing alcohol with medications or illicit drugs is extremely dangerous and can lead to accidental death. For example, alcohol-medication interactions may be a factor in at least 25 percent of emergency room admissions.

Keep your edge. Alcohol can make you gain weight and give you bad breath.

Look around you. Most teens aren't drinking alcohol. Research shows that 70 percent of people 12-20 haven't had a drink in the past month.

Know the Signs: How can you tell if a friend has a drinking problem? Sometimes it's tough to tell. But there are signs you can look for. If your friend has one or more of the following warning signs, he or she may have a problem with alcohol:

  • Getting drunk on a regular basis
  • Lying about how much alcohol he or she is using
  • Believing that alcohol is necessary to have fun
  • Having frequent hangovers
  • Feeling run-down, depressed, or even suicidal
  • Having "blackouts" -- forgetting what he or she did while drinking
  • Having problems at school or getting in trouble with the law

What can you do to help someone who has a drinking problem? Be a real friend. You might even save a life. Encourage your friend to stop or seek professional help. For information and referrals, call the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 800-729-6686.

Questions & Answers:

Aren't beer and wine "safer" than liquor? No. One 12-ounce beer has about as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a wine cooler.

Why can't teens drink if their parents can? Teens' bodies are still developing and alcohol has a greater impact on their physical and mental well-being. For example, people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.

How can I say no to alcohol? I'm afraid I won't fit in. Remember, you're in good company. The majority of teens don't drink alcohol. Also, it's not as hard to refuse as you might think. Try: "No thanks," "I don't drink," or "I'm not interested."

Published By: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Study claims binge-drinking on your birthday can lead to dangerous habits

Most people enjoy a couple of cocktails on their birthday. However, if you're more inclined to go all out and get wasted, a new study from Washington University in Seattle shows that binging to celebrate the milestone can set habits that last for months afterwards.

The study followed 600 soon-to-be 21-year-olds who intended on celebrating their newfound legality by drinking. The researchers followed the subjects for a year and found that those who drank a lot on their birthday drank more heavily afterwards as well.

During the study's follow-up period, people who went all out on their birthdays drank 10 percent more than the typical participant on a night out. When compared to those who never drank before their birthday, the number rose to 17 percent.

In the U.S., if you have one glass of wine a night, you are in the top 30 percent of drinkers. Having two glasses every night puts you in the top 20 percent and 10 drinks per day, according to Stephen Cook's book "Paying The Tab," puts you in the top 10 percent.

So enjoy your birthday, but try not to go overboard. It could have more consequences than that dreaded hangover the next morning.

7 ways to have fun at parties as the only sober person

I'm allergic to alcohol—yes, that's a thing. And I inevitably end up at booze-centric functions explaining my glass of seltzer. Fielding the questions helps fill the time, but there are still plenty of moments where I'm standing around not getting sloshed. As a result, I've had years of research to find ways to entertain myself when I'm the only sober person in the room. Here are some of the best ways I've found to enjoy a party when you're the only one not drinking.

1. Be the bartender. When you start making drinks for the party, you get to talk to everyone. And everyone is impressed that the sober person makes a damn fine cosmo!

2. Learn some secrets. I always use get-togethers as an opportunity to practice my social skills. I read somewhere that conversations are made up of two or more people vying for attention. Intentionally or not, people often try steering the conversation back to themselves. When I'm at a party, I make a conscious effort to keep the other person talking. People will tell you all sorts of things!

3. Pretend. Just go ahead and sip that straight tonic like it's a gin and tonic. It's like you're under cover. And the weird thing is, people treat you differently when you act like one of them, which leads me to believe that acting drunk is, in large part, psychological. One time, without realizing it, I started slurring my speech after too much time around too many drunks. Lean in to that slur.

4. Order fancy mocktails. Just because you don't drink alcohol doesn't mean you can't have fancy drinks. There are a number of soft beverage recipes out there that are delicious and look classy AF. One of my favorites is a drink from Hong Kong called the gunner. One part ginger beer, one part lemonade, a lime, and several dashes of bitters, the gunner looks like a cocktail and tastes amazing. (Yes, the bitters has alcohol, but the drink calls for so few shakes that it is diluted beyond any sort of perception.)

5. Eat. You have more room for food. Take advantage of that.

6. Practice your stand-up. I think everyone at one time or another has wanted to be a stand-up comic—making someone laugh is a rush. What better place to work on your routine than a party. Not only drinkers easier to make laugh, they won't remember if you bomb.

7. Just watch. When I am at any sort of function with drinking, I channel my inner Jane Goodall. One of my favorite things to do is pick a spot in the middle of the action, preferably by the food, and stay there the whole night and just watch. A party is the perfect place to study all kinds of drunk, human behavior. Witness complex mating rituals, overt displays of dick measuring, bizarre eating habits, and other wildly interesting behavioral patterns. Who am I kidding? Sit back and enjoy the drama!

Questions & Answers

Why do people take bad or illegal drugs?

There are lots of reasons. Maybe they don't know how dangerous they are. Or maybe they feel bad about themselves or don't know how to handle their problems. Or maybe they don't have parents they can talk to. Why do you think they do it?

Why are some drugs good and some drugs bad for you?

When you get sick, the drugs the doctor gives you will help you get better. But if you take these drugs when you're healthy, they can make you sick. Also, there are some drugs, like marijuana or crack, that are never good for you. To be safe, never ever take any drugs unless Mom, Dad or the doctor says it's okay.

What are some of the warning signs of teen drug abuse? Click here.

Booze is the answer. I can't remember the question.

Think about it!