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10 Tips to Prevent Teen Chemical Use

As parents, we want our children to lead healthy, happy, and productive lives. We know that alcohol and other drug use can be a barrier to children transitioning successfully into adulthood.

So what can we do to prevent our kids from using drugs?

Obviously there is no sure-fire way to ensure our kids will never touch a drug in their teen years – or even in their lifetime. However, here are 10 things parents and caregivers CAN do that have been shown to minimize that worrisome possibility:

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Prescription Pill Abuse: 5 Things to Discuss with your Kids

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. IPrescription Medst has become increasingly popular in counterfeit painkillers, which are often laced with potentially deadly amounts of the drug. However, it’s also a legal drug that is prescribed to manage severe pain.

Recently 26 people in West Virginia overdosed on heroin that was likely laced with fentanyl, and investigators have also linked fentanyl to Prince’s death this past April.

Today, more than ever, it is important to talk with your kids about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs, which includes taking drugs that were not prescribed to them.

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Myth vs. Fact: Underage Drinking

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By: Sarah Holmboe, M.A., YSB Parent Education Coordinator
and Michael Huntley, M.A., LP, YSB Youth and Family Therapist

With the growing popularity of drugs such as marijuana and e-cigarettes, underage alcohol consumption in Washington County tends to be overlooked. However, it’s still very much a problem. According to 2013 Minnesota Student Survey data, 15% of 11th-grade males and 15% of 11th-grade females in Washington County reported consuming an alcoholic beverage one or two days out of the month.

Part of the solution to this problem is educating both youth and parents about the risks of underage drinking. In YSB’s Chemical Awareness Programs, we discuss a variety of perspectives from youth and parents regarding chemical use- including underage alcohol consumption. These are important conversations, especially as we find many decisions are made based on myths, versus facts.

So how many do you know? Here are some myths some parents may believe about underage drinking, along with some facts about what’s happening in Minnesota.

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E-Cigarettes and the FDA

On Thursday, May 5, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule that will extend its authority to all tobacco products – including e-cigarettes. What does this mean? First of all, there will now be FEDERAL laws prohibiting retailers from selling e-cigarettes to people under 18. Before this ruling, each state had its own rules (in Minnesota, the age requirement was still 18).

Secigs2econd of all, the FDA will now be able to prevent misleading claims about e-cigarettes by evaluating their ingredients and how they are made. The FDA will also share the potential risks of e-cigarettes and tobacco products.

In the coming months, all e-cigarette manufacturers will be required to show that their products “meet the applicable health standards” set by the FDA – this includes revealing their ingredients, product design, health risks, and appeal to youth and non-users.

More research needs to be done on e-cigarettes, but the research that has been done shows that e-cigarettes may contain a mix of harmful chemicals that can lead to short- and long-term health effects, and that many e-cigarettes contain varying levels of nicotine (even if they claim to be nicotine-free). These new FDA regulations hope to protect us from these and other potential dangers of e-cigarettes.

Although the rule goes into effect in 90 days, the FDA expects that it may take up to 2 years for all manufacturers to submit their products for approval, during which time they will continue to sell. In the meantime, parents – we encourage you to continue to have discussions with your kids about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

For more information, visit http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm499234.htm

In Response to 420

In light of “420” we wanted to share some tips for talking with your kids about the drug culture of today’s society. 420, the code for celebrating drug culture and marijuana every year on April 20th, has become a celebration throughout the world – and many are using 420 as a way to promote their businesses, values, and products. For example, some fast foosnapchat logod chains offer specialty products or meals for customers who “get the munchies” on 420, and other shops have discounts for marijuana-related products and goods.

Even social media platforms are getting in on the action. Snapchat, a popular app used by kids and teens of all ages, even featured a “traveling bong” filter which puts the user’s face into a scene of people throughout time smoking marijuana. If you have kids on Snapchat, it’s likely they saw this filter and may have tried it out.

The question to ask: what sort of message is this sending to our kids? We encourage you to use these moments to talk to your child about drug use and the impact the drug culture has on youth today. Ask your child what he or she thinks about the fact that Snapchat is targeting youth with a bong filter. Is it really “just for fun” or could it have a deeper impact? What message does this send? What could the consequences be if you tried the bong filter and shared the Snap with your friends? Share your values about why you don’t want them using and ask your child for his or her opinions.

Check out our Chemical Health resources on our website for additional tips and tools for talking with your kids about substance use: http://ysb.net/resources/chemical-health/. By this time next year, hopefully you’ve had some open dialogue with your kids about why you don’t want them using drugs – one 420 or any other day of the year.