How to Talk To Your Kids about Drugs & Alcohol

LAWTON, Oklahoma – Heading back to school can be a stressful time for students, especially with the added stress of the global pandemic. “Everyone is eager to return to a sense of normalcy and desparate to fit in,” says Jennifer Gormley, CBPS Coordinator with the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network. “Because of this, students may be even more susceptible to peer pressure when it comes to experimenting with substances. Parents can help by staying informed on current drug and alcohol trends, and regularly speaking with their child about these issues and concerns.” 

According to, teens say that their parents are the most important influence on their view of substances. Here are some tips on how to have a clear, productive, and meaningful discussion with your child about substances:

  1. Clearly communicate that you do not want your teen using substances. 
  2. Talk short and long-term effects of drug and alcohol and the toll it takes on mental/physical health and hinders the ability to make good decisions.
  3. Explain that experimenting with drugs and alcohol during adolescence is extremely risky and dangerous as their brain is still developing. 
  4. Look for blocks of one-on-one time where you can talk to them such as after dinner, to or from school, before bed, while watching TV together, etc. 
  5. Take a walk or drive together- teens may be more privy to listen when they don’t feel like they are under a microscope.
  6. Listen to what they have to say too. In order to make the conversation more meaningful, it is important that your child feel comfortable to expressing

These tips and practices can give both you and your child a peace of mind, allow your child to learn the facts, and help your child say no peer pressure when it comes to substance use while also learning how to cope with stress in a more productive and safe way. Wichita Mountains Prevention Network wishes everyone a safe, healthy, and happy school year. Wichita Mountains Prevention Network (WMPN) is a nonprofit dedicated to creating safe communities through promoting proven substance abuse prevention strategies among teens and adults. WMPN is grant funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. For more information on how you can protect your teens, please contact RPC Prevention Specialist Jennifer Gormley at, and follow WMPN on Facebook.