Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco Dangers: Discussions with Youth

Ask the Experts by Ghada Abdallah

Q. When is the right time to speak to your children about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes?

A. It is always the right time, but if your children are young and you haven't done it yet, talk to them before they enter school.

Children will be exposed to all kinds of things from their friends, pop culture, TV, or the news. It's better for your child to learn about these things from their parents before being confronted with making a decision. Be honest and don't sugar coat or hide the truth from them.

If they are empowered with the knowledge about the risks, they can make a better decision when they are faced with a challenge.

Here are some tips for today's modern families with children who are in school:

  • Talk to your children regularly. Be active in your children's lives.
  • Be the disciplinarian. Set curfews, know where they are, who they are with, etc.
  • Know your child's friends and friends' families.
  • Monitor their social media.
  • If your immediate family is affected by addiction, join Al-Anon or other support groups. If you or your spouse is an addict join AA or NA.
  • Address mental or behavioral health issues with a professional early on.
  • Dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medications properly.

Drugabuse.gov has an excellent resource available called Family Checkup. It includes evidence-based practices for communicating with your family members.

Lastly, look at what you can do within your home, at work, or in your profession to change the culture if needed. Be proactive in making the changes that will help in a positive way.

Ghada Abdallah, RPh, has been the owner of Park Pharmacy in Grosse Pointe Park since 2006. She earned her Bachelors of Science degree in pharmacy from Wayne State University in 2002.Abdallah is a member of The Family Center's Association of Professionals and serves on The Family Center Board of Directors. Park Pharmacy offers free blister packs, medication synchronization, and free delivery. Call 822-0100 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you have any questions.

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