Making time to come together and talk openly and honestly with your children and family about complex issues like substance use and overdose can help build positive connections and enhance resilience.
The resources below provide advice on how you can begin and continue having conversations about drug use with your kid, teenager, or even your adult children.
How to Talk to Kids
Talking openly with kids from an early age about all drugs-including those prescribed by doctors, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and illicit drugs-helps them to understand what they are. Providing them with a good example helps them learn how to use drugs appropriately. Through conversation and mentoring, you can guide them towards healthy decisions later in life.
This information can help prepare you for the journey.
- Keep Having Conversations with Kids
- Building Kids’ Resilience
- Using Conversations to Teach Resilience: Kids
- Setting a Healthy Example for Your Kids
How to Talk to Teens
Some teens will have been introduced to opioids as medication (e.g., T3s after dental surgery). Others may try using other people’s prescription opioids. And a very few may experiment with opioid street drugs like heroin or fentanyl. As a parent, you are the number one influence on your child's choices in life, even when it comes to drug use. Talking with them about your values, practices, and expectations can reduce the likelihood of harm.
Use this information to help guide conversations with your teen.
- Using Conversations to Teach Resilience: Teens
- How to Get Back on Track after Conflict
- How to Start a Conversation with Teens about Opioids
- Practicing Good Listening Skills with Teens
- Setting a Healthy Example for Your Teens
How to Talk to Adult Children
As your child becomes a young adult, you can still help them make healthy life decisions by maintaining good relationships and having conversations that encourage healthy behaviour. This includes conversations about their decisions around substance use, including alcohol, medications and other drugs.
Use this information to help guide those important conversations.
- Keep Having Conversations with Adult Children
- Using Conversations That Teach Resilience: Adult Children
- Opioids and Adult Children
Your Health Authority
For information about how to talk to your children about substance use and overdose from your health authority, where available, click on the links below.
- First Nations Health Authority – Tips and Hints for Talking with Kids About Drugs and Alcohol
- Fraser Health – Tips for Talking to Youth
- Island Health – Let’s Talk: Speaking With Our Kids About Substance Use
- Vancouver Coastal Health
To watch a video about the importance of talking to your children about substance use; or to hear stories from families, first responders, and those in recovery, click on the links below.
- Fraser Health – How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs
- Government of British Columbia - Reducing Stigma: Overdose Awareness Stories
For more information about talking to your children about substance use and overdose, click on the links below.
- Government of British Columbia – Talking to Youth
- Government of Canada – Talking with Teenagers About Drugs
- HealthyFamiliesBC – Tricky Conversations
- HeretoHelp – The Road Ahead: A Guidebook for Parents and Young Teens about Alcohol and Other Drugs
Last Reviewed: June 2017