Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Speak Now Colorado campaign offers effective strategies to talk about youth drug and alcohol use

The start of a new school year is exciting, but it can also be a stressful time for kids worried about peer pressure and social anxiety. This is the perfect opportunity for parents to start a conversation with their kids about the use of alcohol and marijuana, and the misuse of prescription drugs and other drugs. The Speak Now Colorado campaign, developed by the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health, provides parents and caregivers evidence-based information and resources regarding youth substance abuse prevention.

Research has found that parents can have an enormous influence on their children’s drinking and drug use, especially during the preteen and early teen years. This is supported by 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data, which found:
● Youth who can ask a parent, guardian, or other adult for help are 1.5x LESS likely to binge drink.
● Youth are 3x LESS likely to binge drink if a parent feels it’s wrong. 

The Speak Now Colorado website provides expert advice and resources for parents of kids 9-20 years of age, and is available in English and Spanish. The site has conversation starters for parents to consider when discussing parties with their kids, or if their child asks about their own use of drugs or alcohol. The site is also useful in helping parents to:
● Identify high risk behaviors
● Understand Colorado laws and punishments for possession, use, impaired driving, etc.
● Learn how alcohol and drugs can affect their child’s developing brain

For more information, and for downloadable resource materials such as fact sheets, posters and social media images, go to www.speaknowcolorado.org.

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