The Dangers of Drugs: How to Talk to Teens About It

Date: 06/30/2023

Title: How do I talk to my kids about the dangers of drugs?

00:00:00 Speaker 1
It. There are all these instances recently of kids, teenagers overdosing at schools. How do
you talk to your kids, your teenagers about this? Well, we're going to talk about the day on tips
on teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize
in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations therapy
center and the nonprofit 501 c three organization, child and Teen Counseling, both here in
Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your
parenting questions. Let's answer today's. I keep hearing about kids overdosing at school.
I can think of at least two incidents this month at local schools near me. I think of my kids, and
I'm just terrified. How do I effectively talk to my children about the dangers of drugs without
them tuning me out? Thank you for your question. I think every parent can relate to this one.
All of us have been impacted by drug abuse, drug addiction,

00:01:07 Speaker 1
either in our own lives or people close to us. We've seen the damage that it causes, and it's terrifying
and helpless to see your kid go through that. And so what I would recommend is let's assume we're
talking about teenagers right here. You're talking about middle school age kids, high school
age kids, and you want them to understand the dangers of using drugs. First of all, again, I know
we talk about this all the time, but the importance of connection, the importance of safety
and trust within the family, of having that communication hopefully this is not the first time
you're talking about this. Hopefully you've been talking about this since they were little
kids at an age appropriate level. Another way to think about this also is it's not just about
talking about drugs. It's talking about everything. How we treat ourselves, what we put in
our bodies matters. Now, all of us could probably eat healthier. I know I could. But I eat a lot
healthier than I used to because I have kids, and

00:02:01 Speaker 1
I'm more aware of that now. So if your family, if there's a culture of a lot of cheap, fast food
all the time, you're communicating to your kids that it doesn't really matter what you put in
your food in your body, it just matters that it tastes good and it fills you up. Well, that can
also create an environment of, well, it doesn't matter what I smoke or what I drink. It'll be
fine. It'll be fine. So I think it's important that the conversation can really start there
with how we take care of our body, how we exercise in a healthy way, how we eat in a healthy way,
in moderation. Again, I'm not saying you can't have ice cream occasionally. We all love ice
cream. But it's a sometimes food, right? Just like cheeseburgers. It's a sometimes food if
you're having cheeseburgers every day of the week. I'm sure your doctor would want to talk to
you about that. So that's one part of it. Another part is when you sit down and talk to your kids,
make sure that you're comfortable talking about these

00:03:00 Speaker 1
things. Then they go, yeah, whatever. Bring these instances, these news are, hey, this happened
this local middle school where a number of middle school kids OD on edibles and do you understand
what this can do to you? Because again, teenagers do not make great decisions. It's not their
fault. It's part of their brain development. Their brain isn't fully developed until they're
25. So it's important to talk about how drugs can affect someone from edible because when edible,
you eat it and you don't feel it for a while until maybe an hour later, then it hits you really strongly.
Whereas if you smoke a joint, you're feeling that pretty quickly. And a lot of 14 year olds aren't
going to be aware of that and they're going to say, well, I told you to eat more. What's the problem?
They're not recognizing the effects. But if there's a culture of talking about health and taking
care of one's body, it's more part of the culture of the family and they're more open to this conversation,

00:03:57 Speaker 1
Again, assuming you guys have a strong connection and a trust there. If you don't, that's the
first thing. But we talk about it a lot. So I'm going to assume you have some of that connection
and trust already. Bring data. There's lots of information online about the effects of drugs
and alcohol. I'd also want you to talk to your kids about safety. If they do use, can they come
to you and tell you? Are you going to get angry and mad if you get angry? There's no incentive for
them to tell you. If you say, hey, I'll be disappointed if you do it, but I'll be thankful that
you told me. Therefore, I can help guide you, I can help support you. When you are in over your
head, perhaps same thing, like if your kid goes to a party and they've drank and they can't drive
home or their designated driver is drunk or high, is it safe to call you, no questions asked?
And are they not going to get in trouble for that? Because if they're going to get in trouble,
there's no incentive to tell you. It's better

00:04:51 Speaker 1
to, from their point of view, to get in the car and drive home and risk it, which is not really what
our kids do. So age appropriate. Again, if your kids 1415, I say start being really direct with
them. Even 13 start being direct because they're already aware of this stuff. It's out there
on the internet. They're talking about it on campus, they're talking about it in social media.
Drugs, especially weed, is a very common part of our society now and trying to skirt around it
is not really going to help your kid. Let's see, what am I forgetting? Think of forgetting something
really major. But again, it's connection. It's directness. It's giving them material they
can talk about. If you feel like they need to talk to someone else, it's not you. Have them talk
to your doctor or a therapist or someone else who is knowledgeable. If there's like a really
cool uncle or cousin or aunt that they trust, who you feel can impart this information to them
better than you, they'll trust more, enlist that

00:05:52 Speaker 1
aunt or that uncle or that cousin or whatever that is. Make this a team. Approach silence in secrets.
That's where drug abuse and addiction really festers. The more you talk about these things.
Same thing with sex. If you're talking about sex and healthy sex and the attitude towards sex
and consent to all these things more often, kids make better choices. It's a big conversation.
I complete a whole 1 hour workshop on this. It's big. If you want more information on this, feel
free to give us a call. Again. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen
Counseling. If you'd like me to answer your question here on tips on teens, email us at
This is serious business. Drugs are very serious. Usually even get your kid through adolescence.
Without a lot of drug use and alcohol use, they're probably not going to go down the path of addiction.
At least it reduces dramatically. Most addicts get involved in drugs and alcohol in their adolescence,

00:06:54 Speaker 1
and that's why it's really important to talk about them at this stage of the game. Anyways, thanks
again, guys. I'll see you next Wednesday with your question. Thank you. Have a good week. Bye.
Bye, guys.


How do you talk to your kids about the dangers of drugs? The first rule is this: kids make better decisions when they have more information. Educating your child in an open, direct and age appropriate manner is the best way to start making your child more safe. 


Parents also need to create an atmosphere where their child feels comfortable coming to them when they have questions about drugs or when they’re in trouble. Focusing on connection building with their kids is the best way for parents to achieve this. Also, making sure kids know they’re not going to get in trouble when they come to you helps keep them safe.

Talking to kids about the dangers of drugs is a big topic, but we get into it in this Tips on Teens:

“I keep hearing about kids overdosing at school. I can think of at least two incidents this month at local schools near me. I think of my kids and I’m just terrified. How do I effectively talk to my children about the dangers of drugs without them tuning me out?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.