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Prevention steps

As a parent, you can take prevention steps including:

  • Asking your doctor if there are alternatives to addictive pain medications for yourself or your children.
  • Regular, nonjudgmental conversations with your child or teen about drug and alcohol use.
  • Warnings to your kids about prescription drugs that are not prescribed for them — a medicine prescribed for a friend or relative is not safe.
  • Locking up your prescription drugs that can be a gateway to illegal drugs — if you have drugs you would like to dispose of, take them to a prescription drug drop box in your area.
  • Watch for changes in behavior and health habits that could be symptoms of addiction.
  • If you’re concerned or you see a warning sign, talk to your child about it or talk to us for help — 800-652-2929 in New Castle County or 800-345-6785 in Kent and Sussex counties.
  • GetSmartAboutDrugs.com . A website from the Drug Enforcement Agency offers practical advice and news headlines for parents, educators and caregivers

How to approach your child

If you recognize the signs of drug or alcohol use, you should:

  • Be direct and calm. Don’t act angry or frustrated and don’t threaten or lecture.
  • Talk to your child when he or she can respond and pay attention — not while watching TV, texting friends or under the influence.
  • Ask nonjudgmental, open-ended questions such as: “How did you feel in that situation? What will you do if it happens again? How can I help you?”
  • Don’t punish your child.
  • Show support — let your child know you love him or her. Stay positive.
  • Get your child treatment or counseling — include him or her in the options and choices to be made. No child in Delaware who needs mental health or substance abuse treatment will be denied access because of an inability to pay.

Intervention is critical to helping a loved one and their family understand an addiction and the long-term journey they will face.

At some point, families also may have to choose a “tough-love approach.”

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