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Worth the Effort

When he taps his fingers, don't feel tapped out.

When she rolls her eyes, just roll with it. 
When she crosses her arms, don’t cross her off your list.
When he zones out, get in the zone.
Don’t let their body language shut down the conversation.

You may feel like your kids speak volumes without saying a word. But they might not even realize they’re doing it. Or, they could be projecting what they want you to see. Whatever the case, your message can still get through. So talk to them about drugs and alcohol. We promise—it’s worth the effort.

For help getting started, scroll down to the resources below.

You say there’s no way your kids are doing drugs, drinking, smoking or vaping.

But if you’re wrong, and you never talked to them about drugs because you thought you knew what was going on, then you may never forgive yourself. The truth is, there’s no “type” when it comes to drugs and alcohol. All kinds of kids try them. And no teen is immune to the pressure to use them. So don’t assume. Have a conversation.

Gum, Candy, French Fries

At first glance, you may think you know what these words have in common. But did you know they’re all slang for drugs? The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has identified more than 2,000 code words for drugs—and the list is always growing and changing. While it’s impossible to know every street name out there, it’s good to be aware that, many times, younger generations refer to drugs by terms they’ve coined.

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Gum = Heroin

Candy = Ecstasy

French Fries = Crack Cocaine

For a comprehensive list of slang terms and code words compiled by the DEA, download this pdf:

“She's always on her phone.”

There are lots of things that may hold your kid’s attention better than you. Whether it’s texting friends, gaming or watching YouTube videos, it probably seems like you’re waging a battle against a screen—and losing. And if your teen usually gives one word answers to your questions, you could feel like there’s no way he or she will open up to you in a serious conversation about drugs, alcohol and vaping. But the situation isn’t hopeless. There are ways to break through the barriers.

Not sure where to begin? Use these guides:

Talking About Vaping:

Talking About Alcohol:

Talking About Rx Drugs:

Talking About Marijuana:

“Am I the kind of adult I would like my kids to become?”

As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. That’s definitely true with kids. If they notice you’re not following your own advice, then they will tune out. So before you to talk to your teen about drinking, drugs and smoking, take a look in the mirror. Even though that kind of self-examination may be hard, if you want what you say to have an effect, you need to do it. Ask yourself questions like, “Is there anything I’m struggling with that I haven’t addressed?” “Do I react to negative things in a positive way?” “Am I the role model my teenager deserves?”

This saying is true, too—before you can help someone else, you have to help yourself.

Take the first step. Find Help

Show them they're worth the effort.
Learn the facts.

If you really want to help your kid, then you need to know what you’re dealing with. Each type of substance has its own warning signs, health concerns and treatment options. There are a lot of myths out there about things like marijuana and vaping. And be aware—your kids are hearing a lot of misinformation, not only from friends but also social media, like YouTubers who are paid to “review” vaping products. Get the facts from a reliable source so you can confidently educate your teen.

Go deeper.

Sometimes substance use is a sign of a deeper issue. Use the resources below to see if there’s something bigger lurking beneath the surface that’s affecting your child.

Anxiety thumbnail

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. However, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias can interfere in a person's ability to lead a normal life.

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Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. More than a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out of it.”

Suicidal thoughts thumbnail

Suicidal thoughts are a tragic reaction to stressful life situations. Many times, people who feel this way believe there’s no way to solve their problems and ending their lives is the only option to ending the pain.

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Take the Next Step

If you or someone you know is living with a mental health issue or an addiction, take the first step toward getting help.


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