It is best for education about alcohol and drugs to begin before young people are exposed to personal decisions about their use. Young people who have accurate information, coping and decision making skills and understand the issues, will be in a good position to make responsible decisions about alcohol and drugs.
Parents and carers can begin this education in the home and support school and other programs such as the RRISK Seminars. Parents also provide a powerful role model when it comes to drinking and attitudes to alcohol and other drugs.
Take time to talk. Sitting down with the young person in your care and mapping out a plan of action and what to say if they are offered drugs or alcohol can help equip them for the almost inevitable real event. Listen to what the young person in your family says about alcohol and drugs and follow up with a discussion. Take the opportunities when they come up during everyday activities, for example:
When you pour a glass of alcohol When alcohol or other drugs are mentioned on TV or other media When using or giving out medicines When your young person has an assignment on alcohol, smoking, medicines or other drugs.
It is important to understand that in some situations young people may take risks. Sitting down afterwards and helping them identify where things started to go wrong enables them to consider what they could do differently the next time they are faced with a similar situation.