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National Drug Council

Encouraging your child to avoid drugs, alcohol and tobacco starts early on. The following general guidelines are from the National Drug Council.


  • STEP 1: Start your mission by building strong bonds of trust and affection with your child and by teaching him or her to make strong, self-confident decisions.
  • STEP 2: Teach problem-solving skills early on, and reinforce your child’s self-esteem whenever you can.
  • STEP 3: Discuss how things that can be “good” and “bad” for the body: mention favorite foods that are healthful, as well as substances found around the house that are not.
  • STEP 4: Explain that prescription medications are drugs that can help the person for whom they are meant, but can harm others.
  • STEP 5: Explain to your child what alcohol, tobacco, and drugs are. Talk about how they can interfere with the way the body works and cause lifelong health risks.
  • STEP 6: Introduce the idea of addiction: that drug use can become a very bad habit that is difficult to stop.
  • STEP 7: Brainstorm potential scenarios in which friends offer your child drugs, and rehearse possible responses or excuses.
  • STEP 8: Get to know your children’s friends and their interests, as well as their friends’ parents.
  • STEP 9: Help your child distinguish drug myths from realities, for instance, that marijuana is not harmful because it comes from a plant and is “all natural.”
  • STEP 10: Praise and encourage your child whenever you can.
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